by Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
4/3/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The American Red Cross recognized a Scott Airman as being a hero for his expertise in responding to an emergency situation.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Drysdale received the recognition in the Military
Category at the ARC's 2015 Heroes Breakfast in St. Louis March 26.
Employees at a Granite City recycling center were processing
military-grade munitions in August that were thought to be spent when an
explosion occurred, killing two people. First responders called the
base for assistance to render the scene safe and to dispose of the
Drysdale, a 375th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Team Leader, along with seven other EOD members, spent two days
recovering and securing the scene. Among his tasks were to recover the
human remains and verify the stability of the remaining munitions. His
team would remove and eventually destroy more than 200 munitions later
at an isolated area.
"I made contact with the officer who arrived on scene first before
realizing that gravity of the situation. He had called for assistance,
and I was the first one to gain access to the area and set up operations
from there," said Drysdale.
"There is always a little bit of anxiousness going into a call because
you don't know what to expect, but I think that's healthy. It just makes
you aware and careful, which in turns keeps us safe when performing our
duties. In my line of work, I see a lot of heroic things. I don't know
if I would ever put myself in that category, however, I feel humbled
that somebody would."
Airman 1st Class Derek Wingler and Staff Sgt. David Dickey also assisted
in identification of munitions and transportation, and in all, more
than 100 individuals were involved in the lengthy process. Throughout
the incident, Drysdale served as an advisor to the several local and
Tech. Sgt. Dustin Lambries, 375th CES EOD Operations Section Chief,
said, "I understand there needs to be heroes out there, and I think
Staff Sgt. Drysdale fits the bill."