Quick Thinking:

The routine quickly changed to potentially devastating when SSgt. Jonathan Billie, an F-15E crew chief deployed to Bagram AB, Afghanistan, from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., spotted flames in the engine compartment of a Strike Eagle. He had come to assist in cleaning up debris when an engine starter failed and instead sent metal bits onto the flight line. Never having seen an engine fire, he quickly got a second opinion, and then grabbed a fire extinguisher and another crew chief to charge the Halon bottle and told other airmen to clear the area. “The first thing that crossed my mind was the live explosives,” said Billie and added, “My thoughts were we need to put this fire out now.” Assistant F-15E maintenance superintendent SMSgt. Donald Poormon said Billie “acted perfectly and you couldn’t ask for better.” (Bagram report by TSgt. James Law)