Tribute to a True Hero

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Bullet, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Haven't seen anything posted on this yet. Sad that a story of courage and sacrifice on this level has less of a chance of making the front page news than the latest gossip about a celebrity break-up.

    God speed Lt Zilberman. A true hero, who willing gave his last true measure of devotion for his crew.

    We raise a glass in your honor, and toast the passing of a true American hero.

    Bullet

    -----------------------

    Subject: Memorial Service aboard IKE for E2C pilot L Zilberman
    100407-N-4236E-076 NORTH ARABIAN SEA (April 07, 2010) - Shipmates
    come together aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) to pay tribute to Lt.
    Steven Zilberman of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121.
    Zilberman's E-2C Hawkeye crashed in the North Arabian Sea March 31.
    Eisenhower is on a six-month deployment as a part of the on-going rotation
    of forward-deployed forces to support maritime security operations and
    operating in international waters around the globe, working with other
    coalition maritime forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist
    3rd Class Chad R. Erdmann/Released)



    The memorial ceremony on the ship was this morning in the
    hangar bay... an absolutely amazing ceremony to pay tribute to a true hero.
    The ship was floating on the site the aircraft impacted the water last week,
    a very nice touch. Hangar bay 2 was literally filled with over 2,000 people
    for the ceremony. The final speaker (LT Arnot) was the co-pilot of the
    aircraft and the roommate to LT Zilberman, the pilot we lost. He spoke at
    the ceremony and his words were powerful... coming from the guy who owes his
    life to LT Zilberman.



    Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
    April 9, 2010

    Downed Navy Pilot Honored In Norfolk For Sacrifice

    By Kate Wiltrout, The Virginian-Pilot

    NORFOLK--Had a lesser pilot been at the controls of Bluetail
    601 last Wednesday, there might have been four memorial services this week
    instead of one.

    But Lt. Miroslav "Steve" Zilberman was one of two pilots in
    the cockpit of the E-2C Hawkeye as it returned from a mission over
    Afghanistan , heading toward the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower in
    the North Arabian Sea.



    The Ukrainian-born junior officer had distinguished himself
    during three years with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121. He knew
    the plane - and its training manual - inside and out. So after one engine
    lost oil pressure and then failed completely; after one propeller couldn't
    be adjusted to balance the plane; after it was clear that there was no way
    to safely land, Zilberman ordered his crew to bail out.He manually kept the
    Hawkeye stable as it plummeted toward the water, which allowed the three
    other men to escape.Time ran out before he could follow.



    Zilberman, 31, was declared dead three days later. On
    Thursday, more than 250 sailors, officers, aviators and friends gathered to
    pay tribute to Zilberman at the Norfolk Naval Station chapel.



    His widow, Katrina, was presented the Distinguished Flying
    Cross that her husband was awarded posthumously."Without his courageous
    actions, the entire crew would have perished," read the citation, signed by
    Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations.



    Zilberman followed an unlikely path to a Navy cockpit.
    Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he was in sixth grade when his parents
    emigrated to the United States. He enlisted in the Navy out of high school,
    telling a friend, "I didn't want my parents to pay for college. I wanted to
    do it all on my own. "Two years later, after serving as an electronics
    technician, Zilberman was selected for the Navy's "Seaman to Admiral"
    program. He was commissioned in 2003 after graduating from Rensselaer
    Polytechnic Institute with a degree in computer science. Just as much of an
    accomplishment, said Lt. Adam Horn, one of his closest friends, was marrying
    Katrina, whom he first wooed in high school.
    "Fortunately for Steve," Horn joked during his eulogy, "one of his
    great qualities was persistence. "Cmdr. Dave Mundy, executive officer of
    VAW-121, said that during downtime on the Ike, Zilberman sometimes read
    books to his kids on video. Much to others' amusement, he even danced for
    the camera - exuberantly, if clumsily - when one story required it.
    He could walk into a room and the stress level would decrease, Mundy
    said. "It just changed the atmosphere. He was always happy. Nothing ever
    brought him down." Zilberman was one of the best pilots Mundy has ever flown
    with, but he said the lieutenant had higher aspirations: He hoped to go to
    medical school and become a Navy doctor.



    The day before the crash, Mundy flew a mission to
    Afghanistan with Zilberman. To allay boredom on the flight, which lasted
    more than five hours, Zilberman and another crew member quizzed each other
    about organic chemistry. He'd brought some textbooks along on the deployment
    and was beginning to study for medical school entrance examinations. "He was
    always trying to better himself," Mundy said. "He couldn't just sit back and
    relax."Rabbi Michael Panitz explained that Zilberman's call sign - Abrek -
    has multiple meanings, although the buddies who bestowed it on him were
    certainly invoking the name of a Soviet space monkey sent into orbit before
    manned spaceflight.In Russian, the name means "hero," or "valiant man,"
    Panitz said. It also has meaning in Hebrew. In that language, Panitz said,
    Abrek means "noble one."



    Zilberman is survived by his wife, Katrina; son, Daniel, 4; and
    daughter, Sarah, 2, of Virginia Beach ; and his parents, Boris and Anna
    Zilberman of Columbus , Ohio.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2010
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    At the Air Force Academy, after a football game (and most other sporting events) the cadet wing will rise and sing the third verse of the Air Force Song. It's a tribute to those that have come and gone before us.

    It begins: "Here's a toast..."

    It has also become a universally solemn prayer when a warrior is lost...much like fighter crews will make the comment "throw a nickel on the grass..." it has special meaning.

    So tonight I raise my glass tonight to a fellow warrior and american patriot.

    I think a verse from John 15:13 says it beautifully: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

    "A Toast..."

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Here's the original thread/story:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=11652


    I think it's safe enough at this point to say that my squadron was involved in the Search and Rescue Effort. We even have at least one person who was classmates with LT Zilberman and a pilot of one of the SAR aircraft without knowing it was his former classmate he was searching for. It was truly amazing to see first-hand the effort that was put forth to try and find one of our shipmates. Although I am proud of all our work and missions it is the SAR work that really makes the squadron move. I wish we could have done more.

    I can't think of a much more heroic decision than to stay behind in an aircraft in order to allow others to bail out.
     
  4. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    How terrible and sad to hear - I will pray for him and his family before I sleep tonight. I hate it so much when servicemen die from things like accidents and friendly fire...its unfair :frown:

    What happened to the aircraft? It sounds like it just fell apart in mid-air. I feel like it could have been prevented :confused:
     
  5. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    There is an ongoing Mishap investigation being performed by the Navy. The board that investigates Naval mishaps is composed of at a minimum four members, including a flight surgeon, an aviation safety officer school graduate, and a few others. For Class A mishaps (which this falls under b/c of the loss of life) the senior member of the board will be an O5 or above.

    These usually take 30 days or more to complete and can be even more difficult when your aircraft is in an body of water. I'm sure they have discussed the possibility of recovering the aircraft. That board is the only way to know what "truly" happened.

    As far as I know the aircraft did not "fall apart in mid-air". From the news reports and media releases it sounds like it had a mechanical malfunction which caused the plane to be barely controllable. I would withhold much further speculation until the report is released. (and usually yes, most aircraft accidents "could have been prevented", that's why we do the safety investigations)
     

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