Hero Pilot Honored Monday

By: Adam Kramer
By: Adam Kramer

Fifty two years after saving the lives of hundreds of faculty, staff and students at Jinks Junior High School in Panama City, a pilot is finally getting his long deserved recognition.

Fifty two years ago Edwin Gorbet was flying over Panama City doing a routine training flight in his F-86 jet, when everything that could go wrong did. A compressor blade in his jet engine broke away from the center of the shaft catching his plane on fire.

Gorbet was faced with a choice: eject and have his plane crash into then Jinks Junior High School, likely killing hundreds, or stay with the plane and try to land what was left of his crippled aircraft in a less populated area.

Gorbet chose the latter and narrowly missed the school and crashed about a block away on the site of the local garden club.

Monday, over 100 people celebrated his heroics with the dedication of a memorial honoring his valiant effort.

"He's my hero, he's all of our heroes, because of what fell out in front of the band room and I think he saved our lives.

Gorbet didn't survive the crash, but some would say he's survived by the hundreds of lives he saved that day 52 years ago.


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