The Air Force Times reports the crew of a KC-135 Stratotanker happened to be in the area to service A-10 Warthogs when the call to help came.
Instead of leaving the troubled F-16 pilot behind, the tanker chose to remain by the jet's side to refuel it every 15 minutes until both aircraft were able to escape unsafe territory and land on safe ground.
'The first thought I had from reading the note from the deployed location was extreme pride for the crew in how they handled the emergency, ' said Lt. Col. Eric Hallberg, 384th Air Refueling Squadron commander.
"The jet first ran into trouble when it connected to the KC-135 but was forced to disconnect after taking on 500lbs of fuel - just a fifth of the 2,500lbs it should have had".
Boeing and Air Force aircrews successfully made contact with and refueled the fighter aircraft during the four-hour flight over Washington state.
An F-16 pilot flying over ISIS territory was in a literal fight for his life after a malfunctioning fuel system left him with only 15 minutes of airtime.
However, after linking up with the tanker, the F-16 was disconnected after receiving only 500 pounds’ worth of fuel.
After a second failed re-fueling attempt, the F-16 pilot ran through his checklist and alerted the tanker crew that he was experiencing a fuel system emergency.
The tanker crew's actions may have saved the pilot from a fate like that of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kassasbeh in February a year ago.
The Air Force has not revealed which country the F-16 pilot was from.
The video sparked global condemnation and prompted immediate promises of retaliation and protests in Jordan, one of more than 60 nations involved in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.