FALLON, Nev. (AP) - The captain of the hijacked American Airlines jet that crashed into the Pentagon was a retired Naval officer who had served several tours at the Navy's Top Gun school here and in San Diego, the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle-Standard reported Monday.
Charles Frank Burlingame III, known to his friends as ''Chic,'' retired from the Navy Reserve two years ago, his brother told the newspaper in a telephone interview.
''Chic was a Naval Academy graduate, graduating in 1971, and had attained the rank of captain,'' said his brother, Dr. Mark W. Burlingame, a cardiac and thoracic surgeon.
''Chic had flown the Dulles to Los Angeles route for several years, and was piloting a Boeing 757 aircraft when it went down,'' Mark Burlingame said from his home in Lancaster, Pa.
''Mark died the day before his 52nd birthday. He was planning to be home in Virginia to celebrate the day with his family,'' his brother said.
''None of us can know, of course, what went on in that airplane before it crashed. But I know my brother died a hero.''
Burlingame joined American Airlines in 1979. He remained in the Naval Reserve and was stationed at the Pentagon when recalled to active duty during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the newspaper said.
He was one of three former Top Gun pilots who were aboard ill-fated American Airlines Flight 77 when it plunged into the Pentagon last Tuesday.
The other two were retired Rear Admiral Wilson ''Bud'' Flagg of Clark County, Va., and Capt. John Yamnicky, 69, of Maryland.
Flagg's wife, Darlene, also died in the crash. The Flaggs, who also maintained a residence in Las Vegas, were flying there to visit his sister.