Military News

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Outstanding Airman of the Year visits Malmstrom

by Senior Airman Cortney Paxton
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


12/26/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Team Malmstrom members had a chance to visit with Air Force Global Strike Command's Outstanding Airman of the Year this past week.

Senior Airman Bryenna Brooks, 2nd Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical services technician, travelled here from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., to meet with Airmen and share her experiences and journey to the top of AFGSC.

"I just found out in September that I was chosen as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year and with that I found out that it's a year-long thing," Brooks said. "There are 12 of us that sit on an enlisted council and each of us is in charge of our MAJCOM and there's also Guard and Reserve members on the board as well. We're supposed to go around our MAJCOMs and speak with everyone about any issues, concerns or ways to improve the Air Force. It has been a lot to take in. I'm still learning what all of this means. I honestly didn't know this even existed."

Brooks deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 in support of a joint service effort of Operation Enduring Freedom. She also has hands-on and in-depth experience as a medical technician, emergency medical technician and a combat medic. But, her volunteer work is just as outstanding. She's volunteered to fill sandbags, served as a STARBASE youth mentor, volunteered with the Special Olympics, is a First Four Airman and is also the Hispanic Heritage Secretary.

Her one-day visit on Dec. 18 started with a breakfast with members of Malmstrom's 5/6 Alliance at the dining facility. From there she visited the 40th Helicopter Squadron where she was able to get a ride on one of the squadron's helicopters.

A 40th HS UH-1N Huey crew flew her to a remote training area on Arrow Creek, giving her a chance to experience Great Falls and Malmstrom AFB from above.

Following her flight, she sat in on a Big Sky Top 3 Association general membership meeting at the Grizzly Bend, and from there was able to meet with members of the Airman's Council during a lunch at the dining facility.

She discussed issues or concerns on the minds of the Airmen, including physical training, enlisted performance reports, supervision and leadership, and goals. She also mentioned the main part of her career that she believed helped her gain her spot as one of the Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

"I guess a lot of it had to do with my deployment," she said. "I'm not saying that you need a deployment to get this - there are only two of us out of the 12 that did have a deployment - but that's what helped me. I was deployed to Afghanistan and I was attached to the Army; we were doing convoy missions. There were seven of us - Air Force members - that were medical and attached to them. We did a lot of volunteer work over there on our off time. We'd help out at the [emergency room] and go out to the Afghan hospital and do a lot of volunteer work there."

After her lunch she toured one of Malmstrom's dormitories to experience the living quarters of the base's Airmen.

Her final event during her visit was pretty significant for herself, as well as other members of Team Malmstrom. She had a chance to speak to the graduates of Airmen Leadership School during their graduation ceremony that night.

Brooks brought with her to Malmstrom a different perspective and a vast respect for the Air Force and its Airmen. As one of 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year, she's focused on making the Air Force better both in mission aspects and quality of life. She encouraged every Airman she met to expand their careers and to look out for each other.

4th AS's newest C-17 pilot is only 8 years old

by Staff Sgt. Sean Tobin
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


12/20/2012 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Tommy McGraw, an 8-year-old from University Place, Wash., who is currently recovering from an operation to remove a brain tumor, got the opportunity to tour McChord Field Monday as a participant in the Pilot for a Day program.

The purpose of the program, run by the 4th Airlift Squadron, is to give local children with serious illnesses a day completely devoted to them and their interest in aviation.

"The Pilot for a Day program is something we all love," said Lt. Col. T.J. O'Connell, 4th AS commander. "It a great opportunity to give the children a fun-filled day with some unique experiences, and give them a much needed break."

Fitted with his own flight suit, complete with official patches, nametag and ascot, Tommy was treated to a host of hands-on activities and demonstrations around base. Maj. Michael Masuda, 313th Airlift Squadron pilot, guided Tommy through his adventures.

Tommy's parents, Army Lt. Col. Joe McGraw, 2nd Battalion commander, and Army Lt. Col. Leigh McGraw, chief of consolidated education at Madigan Army Medical Center, also joined in on the tour.

After getting suited up, Tommy's first activity was to guide a remotely controlled bomb disposal robot, provided by the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron's explosive ordnance disposal team. The EOD team also showed Tommy various weapons and explosives that are often recovered by EOD teams.

From there, they headed over to the 627th Security Forces Squadron military working dog kennels, where the family had a chance to see how the dogs are trained to help take hostile suspects into custody.

After seeing the dogs in action, the crew headed over to the 10th AS building where Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists gave Tommy a parachute demonstration. The SERE team hooked him into a parachute simulator complete with a helmet fitted with virtual reality glasses. Tommy made two virtual jumps, one onto an aircraft carrier at sea and one into a jungle.

Tommy nailed the drop zones on both jumps.

Once his 4,000-foot jumps were completed, Tommy and his parents headed to the control tower for a bird's-eye view of the airfield.

From there, the group headed to the Heritage Room at the 4th AS building for pizza and sodas.

During lunch, Tommy's parents reflected on having the opportunity to spend quality time with their son, and watching him take part in such unique experiences.

"This is almost as beneficial for my husband and me as it is for Tommy," said Tommy's mother. "It's important that we spend quality time together when we can because there are so many unknowns. On top of everything else, his father is deploying next year."

After lunch, Tommy received his intelligence briefing which detailed the mission he was about to undertake, "Operation U-Place XMAS."

Flying in the C-17 flight simulator under the call sign "Shadow," Tommy's mission was to help Santa defeat the Grinch and airdrop gifts to his neighbors in University Place.

Tommy's day at McChord Field culminated in mission success.

The 4th AS runs the Pilot for a Day program, which is sponsored in part by the Air Force Association. Anyone wishing to nominate a candidate for the program should contact Robert Branscomb, AFA vice president of the Community Partnership Program, at (800) 209-6845.

621 CRW Airmen help support weapon school

by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs


12/18/2012 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.  -- More than 60 Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing got a chance to hone their skills and help train Weapons School students at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 2, 2012.

The 621st CRW from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., helped support the Mission Employment Exercise 12B of weapon school. It's a capstone exercise and part of the Weapons School Graduate Course, an opportunity to apply everything learned during the six-month course.

During the ME phase, a joint assessment team traveled to five locations where many different scenarios played out to give students the most realistic training experience possible.

"The Contingency Response Element portion of our exercise participated in six flight training days by providing aerial port, command and control, communications, and maintenance support," said Maj. Brad Bowyer, CRE commander from the 817th Contingency Response Group.

"Additionally, we took this opportunity to practice our own internal training requirements for Joint Task Force-Port Opening (JTF-PO) verification," he said.

The JTF-PO is a command and control expeditionary capability designed to rapidly establish an initial theater port of debarkation aiding in deployment and distribution operations supporting military contingencies, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief operations.

"To further facilitate our mission capabilities, the 817 CRG invited four members from the 690th Rapid Port Opening Element to practice joint assessment team procedures," Bowyer said.

According to Senior Airmen Timmothy McKinny, 817th CRG radio frequency transmission journeyman, the exercise was a great experience with great opportunities to advantage of expeditionary training.

"I have benefitted from this exercise by being able to see exactly how I contribute to the mission, and also learning how I can improve for the next exercise or real world situation," he said.

"This exercise has gone amazingly well, and is a true testament to the flexibility of our versatile, mobility Airmen." added Bowyer.

The ME phase ended Dec. 12.

115th Fighter Wing mission continues despite Winter Storm Draco

by Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


12/20/2012 - MADISON -- Wisconsin is no stranger to snow.

But when a snow storm is big enough to merit its own name, Wisconsinites tend to listen.

Winter Storm Draco has already produced heavy amounts of snowfall across the Northern Midwest. The anticipation itself was enough for many businesses and nearly every school in the Madison area to close their doors Dec. 20.

But for Airmen of the 115th Fighter Wing, the mission must go on.

Part of that mission is being ready around-the-clock to respond to emergencies.
"The Wisconsin Air National Guard stands ready to execute our state mission, including domestic operations, by supporting relief efforts during natural disasters -- such as severe blizzards," said 115th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeffrey Wiegand.

Helping to make that happen are twelve members of the 115th's Civil Engineer Squadron who are working diligently to remove the snow around the base to ensure functionality and readiness continues.

"In preparation for a major storm such as Draco we constantly keep an active eye on the weather fronts moving in and start our plans a 3-4 days out," said Chief Master Sgt. David Martin, 115th CES. "My plow operators put themselves in the mix of the storm to ensure the wing staff can make it to work and have relatively clear driving and walking conditions."

Martin said CE personnel began organizing, training and preparing for the snow removal mission in September. During the snow season, which typically runs through April 1, about 12-17 snow removal operators will be called upon at any given time -- depending on the severity of each storm.

"They fully understand they will be operating in the worst of weather conditions for up to 12 hours a day," Martin said. "My gratitude goes out to each and every one of our operators for putting themselves last - often missing family events around the holidays so they can fully support the snow operations here."

No matter what mother nature may have in store, one thing remains constant.

"Our Airmen are ready, trained and equipped to respond on a moment's notice," Wiegand said.

Pheonix Ravens go from 'zero to 100' once mission begins

by Lt. Col. Bill Walsh
315th Airlift Wing


12/27/2012 - PANAMA CITY, Panama -- Armed with their Colt M-4 carbine assault rifles, body armor and a can-do attitude, three Phoenix Ravens of the 315th Security Forces Squadron from Joint Base Charleston gear up as they approach Apiay, Colombia ready to protect a $200 million aircraft and the crew operating it.

"You go from zero to 100 once this aircraft lands and its time to go to work," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Boley experiencing his first real world Raven mission aboard the giant C-17.

The Phoenix Ravens aboard this flight and operating around the world on other Air Mobility Command aircraft train hard for this specialized mission. In addition to being a 5-level security forces member, Ravens have to complete a 24-day specialized school where the number of graduates is usually less than the number who start the program.

"The training is intense," said Staff Sgt. David Thomas. "I had a busted nose, cracked ribs and swollen ear." Students are put though rigorous, real life situations at the Fort Dix, N.J. schoolhouse including ground-fighting skills, hand combat and verbal judo.

For these selected security forces personnel, being a Raven means long days and long hours. "It's challenging when sometimes you end up staying overnight on the aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Steve Smith who has been a Raven since 2007 and is currently the unit's training manager. "Our trips are usually four or five days, but we can deploy for 15 or more during A.E.F. (air expeditionary force) cycles."

For the aircrews that operate these huge jets, it adds another layer of security and lets them concentrate on the flying. "It feels good to have them around and it's easier for us," said Capt. Clinton Johnson, a pilot with the 300th Airlift Squadron.

Many Air Force Reserve Phoenix Ravens are law enforcement officers in their civilian lives. Staff Sgt. Boley is an officer with the Horry County Police in Myrtle Beach, S.C. "This is a great opportunity, as a Reservist, to fly missions that have an impact on people's lives like in Haiti," he said during one of the long flying legs these Ravens experience.
According to Smith, it's not just about jumping on a plane and flying to some austere location. "We have to research where we are going, what the threat level is, language barriers and more," he explained.

Those locations can be anywhere on Earth, literally. On this mission the Ravens are flying into South and Central America. Mental readiness along with physical readiness is a vital part of job for all of the men and women who make up the Phoenix Ravens.
"When we're on duty, we're constantly vigilant," Boley said as he loaded his weapon before landing.

Each Phoenix Raven is given a number upon graduation similar to a police officer's badge number. Each member wears it proudly on the nametags attached to their flight suites. The number that comes to mind when flying with these specialized security force members is clearly the number one.

Wisconsin Guardsman becomes citizen overseas



December 27, 2012
By 1st Lt. Joe Trovato
Wisconsin National Guard

A Wisconsin Soldier formally became an American citizen in a Nov. 2 ceremony thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Luis Cortes-Avila of Oshkosh, Wis., a motor transport operator with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1157th Transportation Company, was only a month old when his parents moved to California from their native Mexico. Twenty-four years later, he is officially an American citizen.

His path to citizenship wound from Mexico to California, then Wisconsin, and finally to Afghanistan where he deployed with his Oshkosh, Wis.-based unit.

Cortes-Avila's family moved to Wisconsin when he was 11, where he met a friend who joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard after high school. After hearing stories from his friend's deployment to Iraq, Cortes-Avila decided to join as well.

"I just decided to join, because I didn't want to regret [not joining the military] later on, and I love driving. So I decided to go to a [transportation] school," he said during a phone interview from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Attaining his citizenship has been a long time coming. Cortes-Avila's parents began the process when he was still in high school. First his family had to officially establish residency; then came a waiting period before they could be considered for citizenship.

"I found out it was a quicker process when you are in the military," he said. "And since I already had my residency, I found out that I could do it here on post. So I decided I would just get that out of the way, so I wouldn't have to deal with it when I got back."

The 1157th left Wisconsin in February and arrived in Afghanistan in April. From then on, Cortes-Avila was hard at work studying for his citizenship exam. The questions were difficult, requiring him to reach back to lessons he learned in middle school civics classes.

"I created note cards, and I had different people from my platoon quiz me throughout times when we'd go to the motor pool," he said. "So it was really good to get the support from my platoon." Finally on Nov. 2, Cortes-Avila, now 24, took the oath and became a U.S. citizen.

"To me it means a lot, because my parents gave up pretty much their lives for my brothers and myself to be able to come to the U.S. in order to have the freedom that citizens have here," he said. "It means a lot to me, because this is what their goal in life was. They wanted their kids to grow up having a choice to do what they want to do in life."

While Cortes-Avila acknowledged the irony of becoming a U.S. citizen in Afghanistan, perhaps just as ironic is what he plans to do with his citizenship.

Already a graduate of Marion University in Fond Du Lac, Wis., he plans to go into ministry once his unit returns home to Wisconsin in mid-January. He hopes to begin by joining the staff of a campus ministry organization at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, but he also aims to use his citizenship to travel outside the United States for ministry.

"Being a citizen opens up a lot of windows in being able to go to different countries," he said. "I think that's a big thing for me personally, just having the freedom to be able to do that."

Growing up watching his parents struggle to find meaningful work in America as non-U.S. citizens, Cortes-Avila has an appreciation for the freedoms he now enjoys as both a citizen and a veteran.

"It's a big freedom," he said. "It's a big relief just to know that I don't have to worry about that anymore or my children don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm really thankful."

The Air National Guard Serves the Community

by Senior Master Sgt. Ray Lloyd
107th Airlift Wing


12/19/2012 - Niagara Falls, NY -- INTEGRITY FIRST, SERVICE BEFORE SELF AND EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO. The Air Force motto not only applies to our military duty but carries over into all we do. On December 18, 2012, members of the 107th Airlift Wing continued its tradition of serving and supporting the Niagara Community Mission by sponsoring an annual food drive and providing a truckload containing boxes of food, canned goods purchased from their Feed the Family Campaign.

This campaign was held over the past few unit training weekends where members had the opportunity to contribute monetary donations as well as canned goods. These donations were used to feed a family. "This is my fourth year as committee chairman, and although the donations were not as abundant as in past years, we managed to provide help for the mission," said Master Sergeant Steve Buja, Fabrication Element Supervisor.

Unit members along with mission staff unloaded boxes of food, canned goods and stocking up the food pantry. It may not feel like Christmas with the wet rainy weather in Niagara Falls, but you can feel the spirit of the holiday season at the mission. Recognizing the needs of the community, the 107th has been contributing to the Niagara Falls City Mission for more than 18 years.

"This time of year and having the help form the Air National Guard is great." said Andrea Gray, Public Relations & Development Manager for the Community Missions.
"We have doubled the amount of families in need from last year. Having the help from those who protect our nation is a blessing"

Unit members consider their work as rewarding and the true meaning of the holiday season - being able to help out the less fortunate. This is small way of showing appreciation to the local community for the support they give us throughout the year.
"This is my second year and I found it extremely rewarding to see how our unit as a whole is helping the local community in such a great way," said Staff. Sgt. Robert Kurzdorfer, Communication Plans. "Knowing that over 150 families will have meals through this holiday season speaks for itself."

Legacy of valor

Commentary by Maj. Corey Jewell
35th Maintenance Operation Squadron


12/27/2012 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) --  Legacy of valor -- its part of the Airman's Creed, and it's a focus of numerous movie plots but have you really thought about its meaning?

When I think of the legacy of valor, I think of times long ago and missions other people do.

Gen. Mark Welsh, our new Air Force Chief of Staff, gave a speech at the U.S. Air Force Academy last November. I highly encourage you to look it up on You Tube. He spoke to the young cadets about the heritage of the Air Force and the legacy of valor many unknown cadets have left in past history.

During his speech, he named cadets who did some amazing acts of valor. He then asked the audience, "Why don't we know about these people?"

I recently had the opportunity to brief during a weekly wing meeting, and I also shared names of those who have become unknown to newer generations of Airmen.

I named 65 former F-100F "Wild Weasel" pilots who lost their lives in combat. Later that night, I spoke with a fellow commander, and he said one of those lost heroes was the father of his roommate while at the Academy. I wanted to find out about our fellow Wild Weasel to see what legacy he left us.

Capt. Michael Joseph Bosiljevac flew with the 17th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, in support of the Vietnam War. From March to October 1972, Bosiljevac earned two Silver Stars and three Distinguished Flying Crosses as an electronic system officer flying the F-105 Thunderchief.

His crew directed repeat attacks against hostile surface-to-air missile batteries drawing fire away from ally strike packages. On one occasion, he prompted the firing of 10 missiles toward himself and ensured the success of the mission. Bosiljevac was ultimately shot down over North Vietnam and died in captivity as a prisoner of war.

Bosiljevac's complete selflessness for his life and his devotion to duty sets him apart and epitomizes our entire Wild Weasel legacy.

Yes, technologies have improved and aircraft have gotten faster and more maneuverable but there is still a warm-blooded soul sitting in the seat with the understanding of real threats looming below.

We may not all fly over enemy territory, irritating enemy missiles until they fire at us but we are indeed Wild Weasels, and we fight side by side with our fellow Airmen every day.

Do your part to find that Wild Weasel, firefighter, maintainer and countless others who each left a quiet legacy of valor, so we can share their story. You may be surprised what you find and what connections the past and present have with each other.

U.S. flag strengthens bond of Air Force father, son while deployed

by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs


12/27/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- A simple U.S. flag. It's traveled thousands of miles, seen numerous deployments -- six to be exact -- and one stint at Air Force basic military training. Even today, it's still traveling, looking dusty and dull from all of its miles and years.

But for one Air Force father and son duo, it's more than just a simple U.S. flag; it's their symbol of family, sacrifice and service.

"It's something that can define our shared Air Force service, something we can build on together," said Master Sgt. Bryan Kiele, an Afghan avionics advisor with the 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Sergeant Kiele, who just passed his 21st year anniversary in the Air Force, is on his second foreign nation advisory deployment, and fifth air expeditionary force mission. This is also his final deployment of his active Air Force career.

At the same time, his son, Airman 1st Class Tyler Kiele, is deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron an air base in Southwest Asia, marking his first Air Force deployment.

Airman Kiele said joining the Air Force is something he always wanted to do.

"I've been around the Air Force my whole life, so it was an easy decision for me," said the fuels journeyman. "I liked the lifestyle as much as my dad did."

Sergeant Kiele, a Lewiston, Idaho native, spent his first 13 years at Minot Air Force Base, Minot, N.D., working on B-52 Bombers in an avionics shop. Minot was where his son was born, and surprisingly, where Airman Kiele can call his first station as well.

"It's kind of cool that my first base was my father's first base too," Airman Kiele said. "And it's nice because that's where I grew up, and it's where most of my friends are."

As Sergeant Kiele's Air Force career progressed, so did his deployment tempo, and when it was time for him to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, he chose to purchase a U.S. flag to keep with him on his deployment.

"It was my way of showing respect, and keeping a part of home with me while I was overseas," he said.

With every deployment, it became part of his routine to pack the flag. At Sergeant Kiele's side, the flag has "deployed" to England in support of OIF, the island of Diego Garcia, Iraq, and Afghanistan twice.

"When I bought (the flag), I didn't buy it with the intention of it becoming anything special or for it to go on all of my deployments, but I guess that is exactly what it has become." Sergeant Kiele said.

When Airman Kiele headed off to Air Force basic military training in 2011, Sergeant Kiele wasn't deployed at the time, so he sent the flag with his son to start his career.

"It was cool for him to pass it off to me," Airman Kiele said. "For us to pass it back and forth, it's definitely a tradition I'd like to keep going."

After Airman Kiele's technical school at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas, he gave it back to his dad.

Its next destination would be Sergeant Kiele's current deployment in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he said the flag served a very important purpose.

"The flag was the centerpiece flag for a remembrance ceremony honoring nine U.S. advisors (whom) were killed in 2011," he explained. "That was a proud moment for me to know that we were able to use the flag, and that we pulled off the ceremony the right way."

With dwindling time left on Sergeant Kiele's deployment before he returns to his home unit, Det. 1, 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron in Kent, Wa., and his son just beginning his first deployment in Southwest Asia, he knew it was time to pass the flag on in order to continue the tradition.

"It means a lot to me that he's going to take the flag and continue with it," Sergeant Kiele said. "As he goes through his career with the flag, he'll assign his own importance to it all. My hope is that he continues with it, and maybe someday he'll pass it on to his kids if they choose to join."

Reflecting on his father's career and the tradition they've created, Airman Kiele said he looks forward to continuing with the flag, and plans to use his father's passion and work ethic as his model.

"My dad is a 'boss'; he run's his programs well," he said. "When my (NCO) days come, I want to follow in his footsteps."

And so the traveling flag continues, now "stationed" at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia with Airman Kiele. What started as a purchase of a simple U.S. flag has become so much more for this father and son, linking their careers together and building on their bond, one deployment at a time.

Reservist saves lives during round-trip flights

by Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs


12/21/2012 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- A Reservist assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing here found himself in not one, but two life-saving situations during flights to and from his November unit training assembly .

Col. (Dr.) Lewis D. Neace, 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron commander, was called to action during the flight from Portland Nov. 1. About an hour after takeoff, a call came over the intercom asking if there were any medical personnel on board.

"I looked around and clear in the back I see some people clustered around the aft galley," Neace said. "I went back and sure enough there was a guy flat on the floor."

Neace wasn't the only medical person flying the friendly skies that day. "There were actually two physicians back there, I introduced myself as an emergency room doctor and the one guy said 'I'm an obstetrician, I'm out of here' the other one said 'I'm an oncologist, I'm out of here too' and like boom these guys disappeared," said Neace, who took responsibility and administered the necessary medical treatment. 

Neace, who works full time at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, found himself in a similar situation on his return flight Nov. 6.

"I noticed a little commotion behind me, I turn around and this elderly fellow is gasping for air," Neace said.  The elderly gentleman suffers from Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung disease that interferes with a person's ability to breathe. This combined with the altitude, dehydration and his personal oxygen tank in stow, led to a dire situation.

"His oxygen level was down around 70, normal is mid- to upper-90s," Neace said. "It was not good."

At Neace's request, a flight attendant brought over an oxygen tank, which seemed to work for a short time.

"His (oxygen levels) started looking better but then they started to drop again," Neace said.

The initial oxygen bottle that the airline attendant supplied was defective and a new one was needed stat.

"His oxygen level was declining and the oxygen bag was not inflated," Neace stated to the airline attendant. "We need another bottle or tell the pilot to divert to the closet airport."

Fortunately another oxygen bottle was available and the patient's oxygen level stabilized and he was able to make it all the way to Portland.

"I was glad I was able to help, and the patient and his wife were a fun couple," Neace said. "She was a rocket scientist; she designed rocket fuel and retired from Red Stone Arsenal, she has patents on the Patriot Missile. I forgot to ask what he did."

Neace recently received a thank you note from the couple and plans on sending them a 920th RQW patch.