Sunday, December 3, 2017

D.C. Air National Guard honors pilot who saved Maryland neighborhood from F-16C Fighting Falcon crash

Captain Jonathan Morgan was awarded the Brigadier General Howard W. Kacy Flying Safety Award Sunday during D.C. Air National Guard’s awards ceremony.



WASHINGTON — On April 5, a D.C. Air National Guard pilot averted a fighter jet from crashing into several homes in a southern Prince George’s County neighborhood.

A fighter jet assigned to the D.C. Air National Guard crashed in a wooded area in southern Prince George’s County Wednesday morning. See photos from the response.

Captain Jonathan Morgan took off from joint base Andrews in Maryland for a training exercise, but he didn’t expect the flight to last only four minutes because of an unforeseen engine issue.

Morgan managed to maneuver the F-16C away from nearby homes and crash the jet in a wooded area, doing damage only to the plane.

For his quick, on-the-spot thinking, Morgan was awarded the Brigadier General Howard W. Kacy Flying Safety Award Sunday during D.C. Air National Guard’s awards ceremony. He was also surprised with a Meritorious Service Medal — an honor he was not expecting.

Morgan said he simply followed the critical action procedures everyone is trained with.

“Basically, that’s what I’ve been trained to do for the past four years,” Morgan said. “To find out that in fact, no one was injured, it was like a blessing. It was a giant sense of relief — a burden, a weight lifted off your shoulders.”




Terry Jones is also a member of D.C.’s Air National Guard and felt compelled to meet, thank and embrace Morgan.

She lives on a dead end street near where Morgan landed the fighter jet. Morgan saved her home — and that neighborhood — from what could have been major damage.

“I felt very proud that … it was one of our pilots that made that miraculous landing and didn’t get hurt,” Jones said. “It could’ve gone so much worse, but I was really proud to hear how he saved that day.”

Gen. Jeffrey Bozard, 113th Wing Commander, said that Morgan, as the youngest pilot in the squad, was technically dealing with three emergencies during his four minute flight. He said the throttle didn’t work, the jet caught on fire and the engine quit.

“You don’t have enough time to run through all those checklists,” Bozard said. “It’s a testament to how well we keep them trained, that the youngest pilot could have this terrible emergency and still be able to handle it that well.”

Morgan said that while it was honor to be recognized Sunday, “It’s not just about me.”

From the crew that was with him in flight, to the crew on the ground receiving him, Morgan said the entire process was a team effort.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤ https://wtop.com

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