U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Tremel was in the cockpit of his Super Hornet fighter soaring 20,000 feet over war-torn Syria on June 18, 2017, when he detected a warplane heading toward a U.S.-backed militia force on the ground.
Tremel tried to shoo away the other pilot by firing off bright decoy flares. But the Syrian aviator ignored the warning and dropped bombs on the militia position. Tremel reacted in seconds, firing two air-to-air missiles that sliced off the other plane’s tail.
It was a dramatic display of American pilots’ traditional prowess in air-to-air combat. Since the Vietnam War, U.S. fighters have shot down 58 enemy planes. In that span of time, only one U.S. pilot has lost an airborne skirmish.
Read the full story and more from The Daily Beast.