The family of Capt. Lucas Gruenther has announced his body was recovered from the Adriatic Sea on Thursday. Gruenther, an F-16 pilot, went missing during a training mission Monday night off the coast of Italy.
Gruenther was assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
As Home Post reported yesterday, Gruenther grew up in California. He was a 1999 graduate of Summerville High in Tuolumne City. Gruenther was also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Gruenther leaves behind a wife, Cassy, who is pregnant with their first child.
Gruenther was also the grandson of the late Bob Mathias, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and congressman.
The Gruenther family's statement, released through Aviano Air Base, reads:
"It is with great sadness that we announce that the body Captain Lucas Gruenther was found in the Adriatic Sea this afternoon. A compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother; Luc leaves behind a family who loves him dearly and a legacy of achievement. We will never fully recover from our loss, but take heart in the knowledge that during his all-too-short time in this world, he made a significant difference in the lives of all whom he met.
"We would like to thank the people around the world for your messages and your prayers. We especially want to extend our deepest gratitude to the many people who volunteered their time and resources to help bring Luc home."