Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Navy Lt. Miroslav S. Zilberman

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Lt. Miroslav S. Zilberman, 31, of Columbus, Ohio

Lt. Zilberman was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121, based at Naval Base Norfolk, Va.; died after his E-2C Hawkeye crashed into the Arabian Gulf on March 31, 2010. The recovery effort was abandoned on April 2, 2010 and his body was not recovered.

A Navy pilot whose family came to this country to make a better life for him has been declared dead after a plane crash in the Arabian Sea.
The body of Lt. Miroslav "Steven" Zilberman, 31, was not recovered after his E-2C Hawkeye crashed Wednesday, Pentagon officials announced. The search for Zilberman was abandoned Friday, they said.

Zilberman, who also went by Steven or his childhood nickname, Slavic, came to the Columbus area from Ukraine in 1991 with his parents. He was a 1997 graduate of Bexley High School, where he ran cross country and competed in wrestling.

He joined the Navy after graduation, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Gregory Sokolov, who was a major in the Soviet Army in World War II. The family was profiled in a 1997 Dispatch story about Zilberman's decision to join the military.

Family members declined to talk to a reporter when contacted at their home in Bexley yesterday.

The Navy said Saturday that Lt. Zilberman's plane went down in the North Arabian Sea after it "experienced mechanical malfunctions." Three other crew members survived the crash without significant injuries.

The E-2C Hawkeye is used primarily to detect incoming aircraft. Zilberman was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121.

Zilberman's mother, Anna Sokolov, told The Dispatch in 1997 that she was nervous about her son joining the military. One of the reasons the couple decided to come to America was so he would not face compulsory military service.

She had a change of heart after he completed boot camp, however.

"When I saw him at the graduation, I was really proud of him."

MANAMA, Bahrain — The Navy says it has called off search and rescue efforts for a pilot who went missing after his plane crashed in the Persian Gulf region, and the Department of Defense has declared him deceased.

Lt. Zilberman’s plane, from Norfolk, Va.-based Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 121, was returning to the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower following a mission supporting operations in Afghanistan.

Zilberman, 31, was flying an E-2C Hawkeye, which is primarily used to detect incoming aircraft with its 24-foot diameter radar. Born in the Ukraine, Zilberman was from Columbus, Ohio, and had served in the Navy for eight years.

Lt. Steven Zilberman was born Miroslav Zilberman in Ukraine, but considered Columbus, Ohio, his hometown where he graduated from Bexley High School in 1997. Friends describe Zilberman as "a Jew who came to America and fought for freedom" and, "a wonderful husband and father." Lt. Zilberman served in the U.S. Navy for nearly eight years.

"This is a heart-wrenching loss for the Zilberman family and the Bluetail family," said Cmdr. Joseph F. Finn, CAEWS 121's commanding officer. "It is our exceptional people that are the strength of our community and our Navy. Steven was one such individual. He bravely and willingly accepted the risks of an inherently dangerous job. He was a fine aviator and we are better people for having him in our lives. I extend my deepest sympathy to Steven's family and friends. He will not be forgotten."

Several ships and aircraft, including USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, searched more than 5,300 square miles for the missing aviator.

"Lt. Zilberman was an exceptional Naval Officer and pilot who embodied the best of what America represents," said Capt. Roy Kelley, commander, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7. "We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss of a fellow aviator and Shipmate. He will be truly missed, and our heart goes out to the Zilberman family during this very difficult time. "

Steven Zilberman is survived by his wife Katrina, two children (no names or ages given) and parents Boris and Anna Zilberman, as well as his Navy shipmates and Bluetail family.

Memorial services for Lt. Zilberman in Ohio have not been released by the family yet. On April 7th, a Memmorial Service will be held aboard the USS Eisenhower and Lt. Steven Zilberman will be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (NCM), and an Air Medal.


alexk said...

God bless this hero and all our heroes.


Anonymous said...

This is an open letter to the family of Lt. Miroslav "Steven" Zilberman

My hope is that this letter, through it's publication here and perhaps elsewhere, will reach and somehow comfort, even if only in some small way, Boris, Anna, Katrina, Daniel, and Sarah Zilberman.

I do not wish to sign this letter, for I believe this letter speaks for millions and millions of our fellow saddened but fully grateful American citizens, everywhere.

Sadly, I just read of the life, the heroism, and of the loss of Lt. Miroslav "Steven" (Abrek) Zilberman.

Boris, Anna, and Lt. Miroslav "Steven" (Abrek) Zilberman are the epitome of the finest Americans that this country has ever had the good fortune to adopt, into our National family fold.

They came to the United States to make a better life, and in the truest of outstanding American traditions, have made all of our lives so much better instead.

Even by our bestowing our Highest Military Honors onto the life and memory of Lt. Zilberman, we owe his courage and sacrifice so much more.

Perhaps, even though not enough, all we can do now is add his name among the ranks of the other true American Heroes that came before him.

And then, boldly use the memory of Lt. Zilberman's exemplary American life as an example when we teach our children, and we teach all newcomers to our land, of what every single American should daily strive to become.

My heart is heavy right now for our loss of Lt. Zilberman, and in solidarity with Boris, Anna, Katrina, Daniel, and Sarah, I do my small prayerful part with hope that God will shine his love and wisdom on them all, to help ease their enormous pain.

However, after these days of sorrow begin to pass we will all be uplifted by Lt. Zilberman's wings once again. As we sing his praise and rejoice in his memory, forever.