Military News

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Travis welcomes hero home



By Senior Airman Nicole Leidholm, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs / Published September 05, 2015

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, the Airman who helped foil a terrorist attack on a train in France Aug. 21, arrived at Travis Air Force Base Sept. 3, with his mother and brother by his side.

"We're thrilled to welcome A1C Spencer Stone back to America," said Col. Joel Jackson, the 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. "He's here at Travis Air Force Base for continued medical care and rest and recuperation with his family in the local area. We ask that everyone please respect the Stone family's privacy as he continues to heal."

Stone returned home on a KC-10 Extender from Germany with 25 redeployers from Southwest Asia and was greeted by about 300 Airmen and their families from the base.

"We're extremely proud of A1C Stone; it takes tremendous courage and selflessness to place others' safety above your own -- he put into action our core value of 'service before self'," said Chief Master Sgt. Alan Boling, the 60th AMW command chief. "Again, we are extremely proud of these men for their willingness to take action and stop what could have been a terrible tragedy."

Stone was previously assigned to the 60th Medical Operations Squadron pediatrics flight as an aerospace medical services technician.

"A1C Stone is an energetic medical technician and I'm sure he was hoping for more 'action' than he found in the pediatric clinic as his first duty section," said Master Sgt. Tanya Hubbard, the 60th MDOS family medicine residency and pediatric clinics superintendent. "However, he fit into our team seamlessly and always had a great attitude. He is a hard worker and I was happy he was part of our team."

Hubbard added that Stone's Air Force training influenced how the events in France played out.

"I think his awareness training helped him to be sensitive to potential dangers and kept him on his toes as he toured throughout Europe," Hubbard said. "I'm sure that when it came down to the moment, he was able to act on impulse due to those protection skills. In the end I believe it was the core values, Air Force and personal, that guided him that day."

Stone's life forever changed two weeks ago when he and his childhood friends, Oregon National Guard Spc. Aleksander Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, a Sacramento State college student, were on vacation when an armed gunman entered their train carrying an assault rifle, a handgun and a box cutter. The three friends, with the help of a British passenger, subdued the gunman after his rifle jammed.

"Our Airmen live in an environment of constant change, we learn to adapt quickly and take action; fortunately, Stone's experience and training allowed him to put these lessons into action onboard the train," Boling said. "Stone and his friends did what they thought was right and stopped a dangerous attack and for that we thank them. We wish Stone and the others who were injured a speedy recovery."

Stone is currently an ambulance service technician with the 65th MDOS stationed at Lajes Field, Azores. The Sacramento, California, native will be reassigned to Travis AFB in October.

"We are all very proud of A1C Stone," Hubbard said. "He is humble and will tell you that he doesn't deserve all of the fuss, but that's what makes him special. He acted on survival instincts, but he is naturally a protector and we're thankful that he was in that place at that time."

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