“A brief synopsis of the actions and life of my buddy LT Steve “Abrek” Zilberman, USN.
Upon returning to the aircraft carrier from a mission over Afghanistan in Spring 2010, Bluetail 601, an E-2C Hawkeye suffered a catastrophic engine failure. The condition of the starboard engine made the aircraft almost impossible to control. Approaching minimum safe bailout altitude and knowing the lives of his crew were in grave danger, Abrek, through almost superhuman strength, held the aircraft level long enough for the three other crewmembers, the co-pilot, mission commander, and air control officer, to bail out safely. Seconds later, Bluetail 601 crashed into the sea. Military assets from every branch and numerous coalition nations searched for Abrek for three days. He was declared lost at sea. For his courage in the face of certain death, heroism to save the lives of his crew, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“Abrek” was a Ukrainian immigrant who came to America when he was a teenager. He learned English, enlisted in the navy, and gained a commission through the Naval ROTC Unit at Renselear Polytechnic Institute, and earned his “Wings of Gold” becoming a Naval Aviator. He became a Carrier Airplane Commander in the E-2C Hawkeye, and made two deployments in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
His heroic actions have been memorialized in plaques located at his high school, his Naval ROTC Unit, and in a Naval Aviation Memorial Park in Virginia Beach, VA.”
Thank you Tim for sending this in