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Navy Flier Killed In Miramar Crash

December 4, 1985

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A Navy pilot involved in the downing of two Libyan warplanes in 1981 was killed Tuesday when his fighter jet skidded off a runway at Miramar Naval Air Station in wet weather and overturned, a spokesman said.

The FA-18 Hornet was landing when the plane left the runway and flipped over after its wheels hit grass and mud straddling the runway, said Miramar spokesman Lt. John Semcken.

The pilot, Capt. Henry Kleemann, was trapped in the wreckage for 30 minutes before he was freed. He was flown to University of California-San Diego Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, Semcken said.

Kleemann, 42, was stationed at the Point Mugu Naval Air Station near Ventura and was a senior officer of Air Development Squadron 4, which tests airborne fighter weapons systems.

In 1981, Kleemann was commanding two Navy F-14s on a training mission that were fired on by Libyan planes over waters in the Gulf of Sidra. The U.S. officers returned fire and downed both Libyan jets.

In one plane were Kleemann and his radar intercept officer, Lt. David J. Venlet, of Pottstown, Pa. The pilot of the second plane was Lt. Lawrence M. Muczynski, of Houston, and the radar intercept officer was Lt. James P. Anderson, of West Palm Beach, Fla.

The air battle occurred over a broad body of water in the southern Mediterranean that Libya claims as part of its territorial waters but that the United States regards as international waters.

Kleemann was married with four children and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1965, said Semcken. His hometown was Clinton, Ill.

Kleemann’s training mission Tuesday orginated from Point Mugu, Semcken said.

The crash was the third FA-18 crash at training bases in the Southwest this year. The earlier crashes were at Lemoore Naval Air Station near Fresno and Fallon Naval Air Station near Reno, Nev.

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