Airman Saves Raptor from Flames

A1C Michael Underwood saved an F-22 from severe damage, or outright destruction, when he acted quickly to put out a brake fire after the airplane had just returned to JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, according to a base release. “When it happened, I basically acted on instinct,” said Underwood, an assistant dedicated crew chief with Elmendorf’s 525th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. The incident occurred on Feb. 4 after Underwood had marshaled the F-22 to its parking spot and was assisting the pilot in exiting the fighter, states the Feb. 26 release. Underwood noticed that the right main-landing-gear brake had caught fire, with flames roughly six inches high. “He quickly reacted, grabbed the Halon bottle, and put out the fire, saving a $149 million aircraft,” said MSgt. Joshua Franzen, 525th AMU Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Flight chief. The F-22 made its next sortie as scheduled, states the release. For his action, Underwood on Feb. 14 received the Pacific Air Forces Aviation Safety Well Done Award. (Elmendorf report by TSgt. Vernon Cunningham)