Tragic loss for Gasquet resident

July 19, 2001 12:00 am

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

The 38-year-old son of Gasquets Judson Brohmer died Tuesday, the victim of the 11th F-16 fighter plane crash since September.

Brohmers son, also named Judson Brohmer, was a well-known and widely published photographer of military aircraft for both Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Engineers and the Air Force.

The elder Brohmer is the owner of Gasquet Market. He said his sons body was found, but that there is nothing to bury.

I think the plane exploded, he said adding that Air Force officials were visiting his house yesterday to explain the incident.

The former photographer left behind a wife, Alessandra, two daughters Stephanie and Juliana, and one son Sean, all in Tehachapi, said the senior Brohmer.

They are way too young to have to go through this, Brohmer said, choking back tears.

Brohmer said his son had resigned from his photographic flying missions in February to take up deep sea photography, but took this particular job, anyway as a subcontractor to the Air Force.

He said he wasnt getting paid enough for it, and in my view its just way too dangerous, said the elder Brohmer.

Though the younger Brohmer did not grow up in Del Norte County, he visited often and once flew an F-16 over Gasquet to give his dad and friends a peek at it.

He put on a real show for us, he said.

Capturing F-22s and F-16s on film was Judson Brohmers specialty. A sampling of his work can be seen on more than 50 Web sites under a search of his name.

At the time of his death, Tuesday morning, Brohmer was riding in an F-16B near Edwards Air Force Base in California.

His job was to record the test mission of another F-16 flying in the same area 30 miles east of China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center.

Support aircraft routinely accompany test flights to take aerial photographic record of the mission and to visually monitor the missions safety in flight, a news release from the Air Force base said.

The reason for the crash is still unknown, but is being investigated, according to Jennifer Stephens of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The plane Brohmers aircraft was following made it back to the base safely.

This crash marks the 11th such mishap, since September 2000, with F-16 planes made by Lockheed Martin.

According to the Edwards Air Force Base Web site, the F-16 is considered the backbone of the United States air defense.

The surviving Brohmers left Gasquet yesterday to attend their sons funeral service at the base.

The photographers father is very proud of his sons accomplishments, noting his sons work has been featured on The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, CBS news shows and a myriad of magazines.

He was doing what he loved, said Brohmer.