On May 1st, 2018 a B-1B supersonic heavy bomber of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas was making its return from the routine training exercise. On board were the four young crew members; Maj. Ivan Vian; pilot and aircraft commander, Maj. Michael Griffin; copilot, Lt. Col. James Couch; Offensive Weapons System Officer and Lt. Col. Matthew Grimes; Defensive Weapons System Officer. The return was being carried out smoothly when suddenly the fire warning light illuminated in the cockpit. The light according to sources was for the Number three engine of the aircraft which was located on the right wing of aircraft, the engine closet to fuselage line.
The crew started the emergency checklist plan for extinguishing the fire but the fire still continued. The final thing to do on the checklist was “Eject”.
Captain ordered the ejection and the first one to eject was the Offensive System Operator. However, when h pulled the ejection handle, the hatch above the seat exploded but the seat did not fire off. This was the worst case scenarios in addition to the burning aircraft.
The captain after two seconds of knowing as to what has happened ordered to ‘cease ejection’ and said, “We will try to land the plane”.
After canceling heir ejection, the crew started to fly the plane to land on the Midland International Air and Space Port between Midland and Odessa, Texas. This place was over 150 miles from their original base at Dyess AFB.
The pilot and his crew members in a heroic event managed to fly the plane to Midland all the while missing a hatch, without any cockpit pressurization, and with an armed ejection seat which could fire at any minute without any sort of warning.
The crew managed to and the plane safely despite terrifying odds safely in Midland without any injury to any of the crew members and also save d the 400 million dollars B-1B.
For their heroic and valorous acts in service, they were awarded Distinguished Flying Cross. The Cross was presented to them in a ceremony held on July 13th, 2018 at the Dyess Air Force Base.