F-16 Fighting Falcon News

F-16 pilot receives one of the USAFs top safety awards

April 20, 2009 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A U.S. F-16 pilot who landed his jet despite losing feeling in his feet and hands is one of the recipients of the 2008 Air Force safety awards.

Maj. Booth Johnston of the Texas Air National Guard's 111th Reconnaissance Squadron earned the Lt. Koren Kolligian Trophy recognizing outstanding airmanship by an aircrew member.

While Major Johnston was engaged in F-16C "one-v-one" basic fighter maneuvers training, he sustained a severe back injury during a 9-G maneuver. He continued to safely fly his F-16C even as his physical condition degraded and he lost feeling in his hands and feet

"We're grateful for the hard work of these award-winning individuals and organizations, and all Air Force safety professionals throughout the service," said Maj. Gen. Frederick F. Roggero, Air Force chief of safety. "Your commitment to protect the lives of our Airmen and safeguard our resources is exactly what the Air Force needs to deliver outstanding support to today's joint fight."

In 2007, another F-16 pilot received the Lt. Koren Kolligian Trophy for an incident in which he had a stroke while flying an F-16 Fighting Falcon out of Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Lt. Col. Peter Byrne kept his jet aloft for another 90 minutes before returning to Buckley.

Additional images:

USAF F-16C block 25 #84-1393 from the 111th FS flies with a special paint job in honor of the squadron's 90th anniversary in 2007. All the colors and markings have specific meanings, reflecting the unit's nine-decade history. [Photo by John Dibbs, via USAF]

USAF F-16C block 25 #83-1147 from the 111th FS and marked 147th FW for the boss's aircraft seen here on February 16th, 2004. [Photo by Scott Brown]

Close up of unusual nose art on USAF F-16C block 25 #83-1147 of the 111th FS. [Scott Brown collection]