Hundreds of mourners gathered Thursday at Norfolk Naval Station to pay tribute to Lt. Miroslav “Steve” Zilberman, a Navy pilot killed last week when his plane crashed into the North Arabian Sea after mechanical difficulties. Zilberman, 31, was lauded as a hero whose actions in the cockpit saved the lives of three crew members. Those aviators bailed out of the troubled E-2C Hawkeye before it hit the water and were rescued uninjured. The plane – Bluetail 601 – was returning to the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower from a mission to Afghanistan when one of its engines lost oil pressure and had to be shut down. At the end of the memorial service, Zilberman’s widow, Katrina, was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross. “Without his courageous actions, the entire crew would have perished,” read the citation, signed by Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations. Zilberman grew up in the Ukraine and was in sixth grade when his parents emigrated to the United States, settling in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the Navy right out of high school, but didn’t serve in the enlisted ranks for long. He entered the Navy’s “Seaman to Admiral” program and became an ensign after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in computer science.
See also this post. The E-2 has no ejection seats, and so has to remain level during descent for anyone to successfully escape.