1st AF commander presents Air Medals
/ Published November 07, 2007
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow presented two aviators the Air Medal for saving a burning aircraft and preventing disaster over a populated area near Shaw AFB, SC.
Captains Brian Crum and Julie Moore, 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB, S.C., received Air Medals for meritorious achievement May 8, 2007, by working together to safely land their F-16CJ Fighting Falcons after a near-catastrophic engine fire on takeoff.
During a September 21 Operation Noble Eagle sortie Capt. Crum was notified by the Shaw AFB control tower that his aircraft was on fire. With no cockpit indications of the blaze, he and his wingman, Capt. Moore, quickly verified the information, assessed the situation and developed the correct critical action procedures, based on their training. Capt. Crum maneuvered his aircraft to a safe ejection altitude before slowly reducing his power setting and minimizing the fire. He delayed the jettison of his two 370 gallon external fuel tanks until Capt. Moore scanned the area directly in front of and below his aircraft. This teamwork resulted in fuel being dumped over an uninhabited area potentially saving lives.
The take off runway was engulfed in smoke from burning aircraft parts left behind by the crippled aircraft. Capt. Moore coordinated with air traffic controllers to open a runway, which was closed for repairs. After receiving clearance for the emergency landing Capt. Moore moved to a chase position behind the stricken aircraft to ensure her wingman was in a constant safe position to land. Capt. Crum successfully landed his aircraft on the closed runway and was recovered safely from the burning plane.
General Morrow, commander of 1st Air Force (AFNORTH), presented the medals in separate ceremonies to honor the two pilots. In the ceremonies the General said it was one of the finest examples of flying he had ever heard of during Operation Noble Eagle.
"These pilots are a perfect example of the type of individuals that are protecting this great country," said General Morrow. "Their valuable training proved itself during this incident."
The Air Medal is awarded to U.S. and civilian personnel for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievements while participating in aerial flight in support of operations.