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PersonID784505
Name (Last, First Middle)Trinka, James A.
Branch at time of eventUSAF
RankCaptain
Graduation1978
SquadronCS 14
Home TownLidgerwood
Home StateND
High SchoolLidgerwood Public School, Lidgerwood, ND
High School ActivitiesTrack,Football,BasketballWho'sWho in American High Schools,Soc of Outstanding American High School Students
Post High SchoolNone
Academy Experiences
Academic Degree MajorBS,XXX,USAFA,1978 MS,AeroSci,Embry-RiddleUniv,1986 SOS(C),1985 AirCSC(S),1986 ArCGSC(R),1991
Active Duty AssignmentsPltTng,ReeseAFB;79:FtrTng,311TTSqLukeAFB;80: AircftCmdr,496TFSq/313TFSq/50TFWg.HahnABGW;84: InstrPlt,58TFTngWg/311TFTngSqLukeAFB;85:SOS(C);86:MS AeroSciEmbryRiddleUniv:AirCSC(S);87:InstrPlt,70FTSq MoodyAFB;90:PltF-16/WgStdn&Eval,51TFWg,OsanAB,ROK; 91:StuArCGSC;92:MideastCtry,Dir,SAF/IA,Pentagon; 96: InfoSysDir,CENTAF,ShawAFB,SC.
Civilian PositionsDirLdrshp&OrgEffectIRS;04:ChLearningOff,FBI,Washington.DC;06:Dir,Tng&Dev,FederalAviationAdmin, Wash,DC;12:ExDir,SELDP,DeptVetAffairs,Alexandria VA.
Award Year1987
Award Summary InformationCaptain Trinka earned the award for his heroic actions in April, 1986 during an emergency while flying an F-16, and for his continuing g professionalism in all aspects of his military endeavors. Captain was leading a flight of three F-16son a student air combat training mission at Luke AFB, Ariz. when, just after the formation take-off, at 750 feet above the ground, and 250 knots airspeed, his engine ingested a bird. This resulted in an immediate violent compressor stall and instantaneous engine flameout. Using split-second judgment, he zoomed away from his wing men to provide aircraft separation and a more favorable ejection altitude. Initializing a turn back to the departure end of the runway, he determined a flameout landing was feasible and promptly declared his intentions to the control tower on emergency radio frequency. Due to extremely low airspeed and low altitude, he delayed lowering the landing gear until the aircraft was on short final and aligned with the runway. Landing halfway down the runway, he lowered the aircraft arresting hook and successfully engaged the cable, stopping the aircraft just 500 feet from the end of the runway. In addition to saving a high-value national resource, Captain Trinka superbly managed his squadronís 3,700 sortie, $12 million annual flying program to ensure 100 percent completion of all training requirements. He was also nominated by his local community, and was selected as one of the 1986 Outstanding Young Men of America.
Involved Crew Members
Burial Site/DateN/A
Aeronautical Speciality RatingCommand Pilot
Notable Military and Civilian Decorations & AwardsAM,MSM,AFCM(2) Aviator's Valor Award 1986 Jabara Award, 1987
CommentsRetired,USAF,(LtColonel),2000
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