Miroslav S. Zilberman

The President of the United States takes great pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously to LIEUTENANT MIROSLAV S. ZILBERMAN, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot of an E-2C aircraft assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE TWO ONE onboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) while deployed with Commander, United States FIFTH Fleet in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 31 March 2010. Returning from a combat mission over Afghanistan, Bluetail 601 and her crew were making preparations for a carrier landing when the starboard engine started to lose oil pressure. While the aircraft was enroute to the ship, for an immediate landing, the engine degraded to a point at which it had to be shut down. After executing Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization shut down procedures, the starboard propeller failed to feather, causing unequal thrust on each wing of the aircraft. As a result, the aircraft was at its limits of controllability and began a descent that could not be arrested. Realizing all available options to land the aircraft safely were exhausted, Lieutenant Zilberman directed his crew members to bail out. With the auto pilot incapable of holding the aircraft in an acceptable attitude, he manually held the aircraft stable while his crew safely exited the aircraft, leaving him little chance to escape. All three aviators successfully bailed out of the aircraft with no injuries. As the last crewman onboard the barely controllable aircraft, Lieutenant Zilberman was unable to exit the aircraft, sacrificing his life to save his crew. Without his courageous actions, the entire crew would have perished. By his superb airmanship, inspiring courage, and loyal devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions, Lieutenant Zilberman reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.