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Meet The Heroic Aircrew Behind That Fiery B-1B Lancer Emergency Landing
The Air Force on Friday formally recognized the actions of the B-1B Lancer bomber aircrew that saved both themselves and their aircraft amid a fiery emergency landing in May, officials announced on Saturday.
Gen. Robin Rand, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross to five airmen from the 28th Bomb Squadron for their "heroism and extraordinary aerial achievement" in landing their aircraft amid both an engine fire and ejection seat failure, a feat that constituted the "first-ever successful landing of a B-1B experiencing such malfunctions," according to Dyess Air Force Base.
- The airmen are: Maj. Christopher N. Duhon, the chief of future operations at Air Forces Strategic - Operations Division at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and the 28th instructor pilot at the time; 28th weapon systems officer instructor Capt. Matthew Sutton; student pilot 1st Lt. Joseph Welch; and 28th student weapon systems officer 1st Lt. Thomas C. Ahearn, who Air Force officials said has since completed his training and is currently assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
- The aircrew was forced to make an emergency landing at Midland International Air Space Port in Texas on May 1st after an indicator light alerted them to a fire aboard the long-range strategic bomber, and the weapons systems officer’s seat failed to release during the subsequent ejection sequence. It is unclear whether that weapons system officer was Capt. Sutton or 1st Lt. Ahearn.
- “The cover comes off, and nothing else happens. The seat doesn’t fire,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson confirmed in June, referring to the ejection hatch. “Within two seconds of knowing that that had happened, the aircraft commander" — in this case, Duhon — "says, ‘Cease ejection, we’ll try to land.'”
A Rockwell B-1B Lancer sits after making an emergency landing at Midland International Air and Space Port, Tuesday, May 1, 2018, in Midland, Texas.Jacob Ford/Odessa American/Associated Press
- The incident forced the Air Force to ground its B-1B fleet for a two-week safety stand-down. On June 19, AFGSC announced that flight operations had resumed, stating that the command had “high confidence that the fleet’s egress systems are capable and the fleet is ready to return to normal flight operations.”
Bravo, airmen, and well deserved.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
She's photographed every major war of the last 20 years. Marine Corps boot camp was something else entirely
Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario's seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.
Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.
The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.
Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.
Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
An Army staff sergeant who "represents the very best of the 101st Airborne Division" has finally received a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge after a 75-year delay.
On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.
U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.
The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.