Chief Warrant Officer Dave Snow was recently honored with a posthumously awarding of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The March 27 presentation honor Snow and his fellow pilot, Captain Kevin Norman, both of whom were killed on Aug. 12, 2003 when their C-12 transport and reconnaissance aircraft crashed while on a maintenance test flight Seoul Air Base in South Korea.
According to military records the plane had engine problems and was flying at a low altitude, apparently headed toward a crowded restaurant, when Snow and Norman diverted the plain to an open field, where it crashed without harming anyone on the ground.
“I believe the pilot's final act was to turn the aircraft away from a restaurant filled with people,” said
Lt. Col. Timothy Brown in a testimony regarding the crash. “They heroically saved the occupants of the
restaurant and committed to sacrificing their own lives.”
Some villagers testified the plane very well could have crashed into their homes, too, if not for the decision of the pilots to head over the field where the C-12 eventually crashed.
Recordings of the two pilots, recovered at the scene, were also used to help determine what happened, which resulted in some procedural changes aimed at ensuring the safety of pilots. Before their accident four other aviators died performing the same procedure, however, their recordings were not recovered.
On March 27, more than five-and-a-half years later, the relatives of the two pilots were presented with the posthumous recognition.
“Your father's and Kevin's voices carried forward; for the last six years, there have been no fatalities in this fixed wing aircraft,” Col. Dave Abramowitz said to the families gathered for the ceremony.
Snow’s widow, Amy Snow, and their and daughters, Olivia and Emily, accepted the award on behalf of their father during the ceremony.