Lt. Jason “Bump” Hughes received one of the U.S. Navy’s highest awards (the Naval Air Medal) after a harrowing experience April 28, 2018. The son of John and Charlie Hughes of Albia and a 2007 ACHS graduate, Hughes was flying in command of a C-2A Greyhound Carrier On-Board Delivery aircraft while en route from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. to his home base in San Diego.
The commendation reads that “Lt. Hughes displayed wise judgment and superior airmanship in handling a sudden catastrophic failure of his left propeller, ultimately damaging eight propeller blades and throwing the plane out of balance.
“The damage produced massive airframe shuddering, rendering the instruments unreadable and the aircraft began an immediate descent over mountainous terrain. Smoke and fumes filled the cockpit and aft cabin as the left engine began to fail from the violent shaking of the damaged propeller.”
The commendation further read, “Displaying great calm, maturity and sound decision making in the face of danger, Lt. Hughes and his crew shut down the left engine, feathered what was left of the propeller, ensured all crew and passengers were breathing clean oxygen and turned eastward, steering the crippled aircraft to Naval Air Facility El Centro. Fighting severely impaired visibility in the cockpit and serious aircraft controllability issues, Lt. Hughes effected a safe single-engine downwind emergency forced landing, preserving the safety and well-being of his four fellow crew members and eight passengers on board.
“By his skillful airmanship, steadfast aggressiveness, and exemplary devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions, Lt. Hughes reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Hughes began his flying career with a coupon for flying lessons at the Ottumwa Airport his mom bought him while he was in high school. He earned his pilot’s license while still in high school, attended Indian Hills Community College and Southern Illinois University before joining the U.S. Navy.
Lt. Hughes grandparents are Thelma Hughes and Blaine and Juilie Carter.