HomeNewsArticle Display

CSAF presents Kolligian Trophy to T-38 pilot

190627-F-DT527-155

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Mr. Koren Kolligian II present the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy citation to Capt. Matthew Heath during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., June 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

190627-F-DT527-137

Mr. Koren Kolligian II delivers remarks during the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy Award ceremony. Kolligian presented the award along with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein to Capt. Matthew Heath during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., June 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

190627-F-DT527-155

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein delivers remarks during the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy award ceremony. Goldfein presented the award along with Mr. Koren Kolligian II to Capt. Matthew Heath during a presentation at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., June 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

190627-F-DT527-155

Mr. Koren Kollegian II and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein present the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy to Capt. Matthew Heath during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., June 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

190627-F-DT527-155

Capt. Matthew Heath delivers remarks after being presented the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Mr. Koren Kolligian II during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., June 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein presented the 2018 Koren Kolligian Jr., Trophy to Capt. Matthew T. Heath, a T-38 instructor pilot assigned to the 71stth Flying Training Wing, Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, at the Pentagon, June 27.

Using his instinct, training, judgement, flying experience and proper energy management, Heath flawlessly landed his aircraft after unknowingly receiving contaminated fuel, safeguarding the life of the student pilot on board.

On November 18, 2017, during a refueling stop, a civilian line-worker inadvertently introduced Diesel Exhaust Fluid into the fuel tank of Heath's and the student pilot’s T-38C Talon. After receiving contaminated fuel, the pair continued on their cross-country student training sortie en-route to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, Texas.

Takeoff, departure and cruise were uneventful, but while flying a circling approach at Rick Husband, the student pilot attempted to add power and noticed that both engines were unresponsive to throttle movements.

Heath recalls the moment when he saw the throttles move but nothing happened with the jet.

“My stomach immediately dropped.” said Heath. There’s something definitely wrong here... airspeed is slowly decaying off... I started to maneuver to a base. My whole thought process was to keep assessing (the situation)!

Heath, recognizing that they were in an energy deficient situation and that landing on the runway would be difficult if not impossible, immediately took control of the aircraft. He directed the student to prepare for ejection, but as Heath assessed the situation, he realized that although he was unable to maintain flying airspeed without descending, he may be able to save the aircraft by carefully balancing air speed and rate of descent. He maneuvered the aircraft to the point of transition for landing and extended the flaps to maintain lift as the airspeed decayed.

Heath managed to hold the aircraft on a landing profile by keeping the landing gear up until a half-mile final where he had enough energy to assure landing.

Col. Corey A. Simmons, Commander, 71st Flying Training Wing recalled that this procedure is not taught in any formal training course, or discussed in the flight manual, but Capt. Heath's superior judgment and flying experience assisted his decision making.

On landing rollout, the aircraft’s fire warning system alerted Heath of a fire in the right engine compartment, which unknown to Heath at the time, had already caused significant damage to the aircraft. Heath immediately shut down the affected engine, stopped the aircraft, shutdown the other engine and commanded an emergency ground egress.

During the ceremony, Goldfein stated that Heath's superb analysis and outstanding skill in response to this life-threatening emergency resulted in the safe recovery of two Airmen and an $8.2 million aircraft.

During his remarks, Heath took a moment to recognize his wife, Katie for her support.

"The second hardest thing I had to do that day was call Katie and let her know that something's not right and I'll be coming home today," he said. After I worked up the nerve to call (Katie), I still remember the words you said to me on that day.

There was a lot going on but it was very reassuring to hear you (Katie) say, "see you at home."

Since the award’s inception, the Kolligian family attends and sponsors the award presentation ceremony.

“Our family has been honored to be invited to the Pentagon every year, meeting remarkable pilots, spending time with them and their families, sharing stories and creating friendships.” said Kolligian’s nephew, Koren Kolligian II.

The trophy is named for 1st Lt. Koren Kolligian Jr., an Air Force pilot who was declared missing when his T-33 Shooting Star disappeared off the California coast Sept. 14, 1955. Each year since the award was established in 1957, one or more members of the Kolligian family has made the trip to take part in the presentation and to meet the honorees. The award was established in 1957 to memorialize 1st. Lt. Koren Kolligian Jr., an Air Force pilot declared missing in the line of duty when his T-33 Shooting Star disappeared off the California coast Sept. 14, 1955.

“Capt. Matthew Heath, on behalf of our family, I offer congratulations and sincere thanks,” said Kolligian. “What may have been another day in your life, we view as an act of heroism resulting from the Air Force’s commitment to education and training, and your skill, composure and resilience under pressure. This award celebrates each of those values and qualities and reminds us all what it takes to be a pilot in the United States Air Force.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: Make sure you're still washing your hands and following CDC precautionary guidelines to help protect yourself and other…
Twitter
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: There are rarely parades or accolades given to those in the business of anticipating and avoiding catastrophic enemy a…
Twitter
One pilot was killed when a U.S. Air Force F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to Shaw Air Force Base crashed at approx… https://t.co/iBc3rCDzSw
Twitter
Senior Airman Ezra Chavez, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight, dons a new EOD 10 bomb suit @AirAviano. The sui… https://t.co/7AxzoWTNGf
Twitter
.@910AW maintenance Airmen are planning to save costs and increase efficiency with a new 3D printer. @USAFReservehttps://t.co/fOUWO8YhKs
Twitter
The E-3 Sentry is an airborne warning & control system, or AWACS, aircraft w/ an integrated command & control battl… https://t.co/qM1mXkvqow
Twitter
.@EielsonAirForce Airmen conducted airborne training to maintain operational readiness at Joint Base Elmendorf-Rich… https://t.co/5ivZf24ay8
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Know your #rights: Service members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a law designed to ease financial bur…
Twitter
“Publishing JADO doctrine is a first step in changing how we think and conduct operations with the reemergence of g… https://t.co/9wnN5ILNS2
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Have you checked @AFWERX’s #DisruptiveAF🎙pod? Check it out! https://t.co/NAMYv6OSLd
Twitter
The 317th Airlift Wing @DyessAFBase recently finished the first round of the new 4/12 C-130 deployment cycle. The c… https://t.co/Pw9tw2NIqq
Twitter
We control the air in this multi-domain fight! #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/6SYQwbs2ym
Twitter
They called it "the biggest test of @NATO Allies’ ability" in years. #TotalForce #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/brNWrvaMch
Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein visited @RobinsAFB_GA to get updates on the installation. He heard about how missions have progre… https://t.co/4Hvz5ZvRJ8
Twitter
.@SecAFOfficial outlines the Air Force's 4 top priorities: build the Space Force, modernize the Air and Space Force… https://t.co/pIkl23NVtG
Twitter
Register by August 1! Exercise your right to vote! https://t.co/SkTSooPFrr
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,245,636
Follow Us