He graduated from RPI in 2003 and died during the war in Afghanistan in 2010. In that time, Miroslav Zilberman or "Steve" as his friends called him, left a legacy that forever changed those who knew him, especially those whose lives he saved on a tragic day two years ago. They came together at his alma mater to remember him, in a tearful and touching tribute.
TROY, N.Y. -- "His three crewmen are alive today because of his actions."
Exactly two years ago Saturday, Navy pilot and RPI graduate, Lt. Miroslav "Steve" Zilberman committed the ultimate act of valor, while circling back from a mission in Afghanistan.
Marilyn Rofsky, Steven's mentor said, “The plane's engine blew, the starbird propeller shutdown, and the plane rolling over on it's side, "Slava" realized it would not be full-speed ahead."
Incredibly, Zilberman was able to steady the plane so his crew could parachute out over sea, where "Steve" was eventually lost.
Shirley Anne Jackson, RPI President said, “When this young man realized he could not save the plane, he ordered his threw crew members, including his co-pilot, to bail out. They were able to."
"Steve was a hero, everyone here has a connection to Steven."
Family, faculty and Navy officials gathered at RPI to remember their fallen hero. A plaque was unveiled in Zilberman's honor and he was posthumously awarded the distinguished flying cross.
Those who loved, taught, learned and served with Zilberman, now coming together, to admire his courage.
Jeremy Arnott, Surviving Crew Member said, “The navy core values are courage, honor and commitment, and Steve embodied all of them."
Jackson said, “A life lived as his was deserved to be remembered, to be treasured."
Following in Lt. Zilberman's footsteps, 25 RPI students were inducted into the school's Phalanx Honor Society. The Society celebrates students who have “worked to better the standing of Rensselaer both on and off campus", just like Lt. Zilberman.