They Came Close:

Two F-15E crew chiefs with the 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Southwest Asia recently received Flightline Safety Awards for their quick action in saving other airmen and a multimillion dollar F-15E Strike Eagle. The Desert Eagle reports that SSgt. Victor Babuta and SrA. James Clark, both from Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C., were faced with a potentially explosive situation when they began to check out a problem reported by the aircrew of an F-15E just returned from a sortie. The crew chiefs saw smoke and smelled fumes, but before they could get the engine shut down, there was a loud pop and saw a flash fire. They immediately shut down the engine, and one ducked under the aircraft to reach and put out the fire, which was dangerously close to a live bomb.