first published on June 27, 2019 by Will
The foreign national mercenary pilot captured by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli back in May has now been identified as a US Air Force Veteran.
Jamie Sponaugle, 31, of Florida has been released by the LNA after six weeks in detention. He was conducting bombing sorties on for the Libyan government when his Mirage F1 combat jet was shot down.
Initially, he claimed to be a Portuguese national named Jimmie Reese. However, his accent was all over the place and it quickly came to light that “Jimmie Reese” was a second baseman for the 1930 New York Yankees, and an pseudonym used by a Tom Cruise character portrayed in the film Jack Reacher.
— Mohamed Mansour 🇪🇬 (@Mansourtalk) April 23, 2019
Sponaugle was an enlisted active duty airman between 2006 and 2013, serving as a mechanic. He then served an additional three years in the Florida Air National Guard. At one point he held the position of an airspace technician.
According to a report on The Washington Post, Sponaugle obtained his pilot’s license following his time in service.
At first, it may seem odd that that a mechanic would be flying planes in a war zone. Yet, a pilot that is also a highly-skilled aircraft mechanic, capable of maintaining his own aircraft would be exactly what an employer of a free-lance fighter pilot would be looking for.