By lex, on April 12th, 2010
The story of how Navy Lieutenant Miroslav “Steve” Zilberman sacrificed his life to save his crew has moved beyond conjectural:
(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.
Lieutenant Zilberman is survived by a wife, two young children, three crew members and an admiring nation.