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How a U.S. Navy Pilot Shot Down the First Enemy Plane in 18 Years- seniorhelpline.info

How a U.S. Navy Pilot Shot Down the First Enemy Plane in 18 Years

The Syrian attack jet was bombing on U.S.-backed fighters on the ground.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Murray

On June 18th, 2017 Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael “M.O.B.” Tremel made history—he was the first pilot to shoot down an enemy airplane in 18 years. Tremel told his story at last week’s annual Tailhook convention for naval aviators, describing the tense aerial environment, which saw the skies over Syria filled with planes from nearly a half dozen countries, and what it was like to engage in combat the first time.

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Lieutenant Commander Tremel, a member of VF-87 (“Golden Warriors”) had launched off the aircraft carrier USS Bush in the Mediterranean Sea in support of U.S. and pro-U.S. forces on the ground. Syrian combat aircraft had been attempting to engage anti-government Kurdish and Arab militias, with U.S. aircraft attempting to stop them by flying low—but not using weapons to shoot the Syrians down.

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A Syrian Air Force Su-22 "Fitter" drops bombs over southern Damascus, April 2018.
Getty ImagesRami Al Sayed

Tremel moved to intercept the Syrian jet, and flew overhead discharging anti-missile flares, hoping the Syrian Air Force Su-22 “Fitter” strike aircraft would back off. But instead of backing off the Su-22 dropped two bombs on friendly positions. Tremel first launched an AIM-9X Sidewinder—which missed—and then fired a AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range missile. The Fitter exploded, and Tremel’s aircraft ended up flying through the debris field. The Syrian pilot survived the shootdown, parachuting to the ground.

Tremel received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the incident.

The last time U.S. military aircraft had shot down hostile planes was on March 26th 1999, when U.S. Air Force pilot Capt. Jeffrey Hwang, flying a F-15C Eagle fighter jet, shot down two Yugoslav MiG-29 fighter jets with AMRAAM missiles.

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