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Hornet pilot awarded Air Medal after lightning strike

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posted on Jul, 18 2015 @ 10:25 PM
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An F-18 Hornet pilot from Belle Chasse, Louisiana was awarded the Air Medal for safely recovering himself and his aircraft after a debilitating lightning strike last year. The story is a wild one.

Cmdr Abaxes "Chili" Williams was flying with his wingman, Lt. Cliff "Mover" Lemoine were flying to the Gulf of Mexico Range Complex for ACM training July 18, 2014. The weather was forecast to be acceptable for the flight, so they took off. They quickly flew into a storm, and Cmdr Williams keyed his radio to tell Lt Lemoine to move away from his aircraft for safety. As he keyed the radio, he heard the static that precedes a lightning strike, immediately followed by whiteness, and the most incredible pain he had ever felt. The lightning had apparently struck his canopy just above his head, moved through the airframe, and hit the knifeblade radio antenna just behind the cockpit, causing a short in the radio, up through the radio button he was depressing.

See link for the rest of the story. Well worth the read.


The first sign that something was wrong was the static on his radio. Then as he was about to speak to his wingman, Navy Cmdr. Abaxes "Chili" Williams, flying a F/A-18 Hornet over the Gulf of Mexico east of St. Bernard Parish, felt a warm sensation in his fingertips on the radio trigger.

"And then, white," Williams said. "A pretty, magnificent, bright, almost shiny white."

Williams already knew peril in the air. Before he joined the Navy Reserve's Strike Fighter Squadron 204, known as the River Rattlers, he was a Marine Corps fighter pilot who flew combat missions over Afghanistan and patrolled the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. He had been flying airplanes that were struck by lightning, too, both in Hornets and the Boeing 737 commercial airliners he flies for Continental in his civilian job.

But this time, the lightning strike was different. This time, he felt it.

www.nola.com...




posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 01:01 AM
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Feel I need to jump in. I didn't hear of this. Been trying to fathom that scenario in my head. Hint... can't do it.

2 F-15's recently did a fly over. ( It was a Saturday, in the park. I think WAS the fourth of July )! .
That very base. It's a joint thing. Their from that very joint base. So they have F-16's too.

I read your link twice to sink it in.

P.S. I have video less than a minute after the pirates/anthem of the two F-15's coming back. The focusing stinks. But the sound Rocks!



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 01:07 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The article is a testament to the training and conditioning of service aviators. These people are the coolest of cucumbers, and the history of avoiding civilian casualties at the cost of their airframes and lives have been reported many times in the past.

Thanks for a great read!



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 01:27 AM
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a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

I love the wingman after the lightning strike. "Dude, I think we just got hit by lightning."



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 01:28 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Even better was the break off command.... Dude get away from me! Like after his faculties were discombobulated he still remembered to give the command he was preparing to give...all be it less proper. I feel like his wingman deserved a medal as well considering without his help chili may have not made it back quite so smoothly. Both of those men are heroes!



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: RickyD

Yeah they were. Without both of them working as a team the way they did this probably would have ended differently.



posted on Jul, 19 2015 @ 06:23 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: RickyD

Yeah they were. Without both of them working as a team the way they did this probably would have ended differently.


Like the story of William Rankin, a pilot who parachuted *through* a thunderstorm with lightning, hailstones, turbulence and heavy rain:

en.wikipedia.org...



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