Military News

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Marine Saves Vietnam Veteran After Motorcycle Accident



By Sgt. Connor Hancock , 1st Marine Corps District

BOWMAN, SC, UNITED STATES -- BOWMAN, S.C. — About a month ago, Staff Sgt. Dustin Gill’s life changed forever. His day started off as planned; him and his wife Cynthia packed their luggage and hit the road for their honeymoon cruise. It was a predictable drive on Interstate 26, until the couple hit dead stop traffic.

“I saw a motorcycle laid out and a body on the highway,” said Gill. “I ran across a couple of lanes of traffic to check the guy out.”

The man laid on the side of the road bleeding and still. His left leg was completely severed from the knee down. Gill immediately applied pressure to the man’s leg and asked a fellow bystander, who was also at the scene for his belt. Gill then directed Cynthia to grab a tire iron to make an improvised tourniquet.

“I used the bar to twist the belt as tight as I could to stop the bleeding,” Gill said. “I had my wife grab a blanket out of the car so I could cover him up- so he didn’t see his amputated leg and go into shock.”

Gill directed onlookers to call 911, get him a pen and notepad, and clear traffic to allow for helicopter landing.

“We kept him talking as much as possible to ensure he maintained consciousness and to give as much information as we could about him to the EMTs,” said Gill.

When EMTs arrived, Gill assisted them in applying a proper tourniquet, passed along the man’s information, and stepped away as the man was flown out by helicopter.

The man Gill saved is George Wingert, an 80-year-old Florida resident and Vietnam War Army veteran.

“If Dustin wasn’t there for me, I wouldn’t be here now,” Wingert said. “He was meant to be there. He’s a part of my life now.”

Gill learned to provide medical aid during Marine Corps training he received leading up to his two deployments in Afghanistan. Gill served as a machine gunner in a security platoon in 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, during his second tour in Afghanistan.

“I’m grateful for the training because it obviously had an impact,” said Gill. “Going down to my honeymoon, I didn’t think anything like that was going to happen, but I’m glad I knew how to react.”

Since the incident, Dustin and Cynthia Gill have been keeping close contact with George.

“Dustin and his wife came down Saturday, and they spent several hours here,” Wingert said. “They’re phenomenal.”

Daniel Wingert, George’s Grandson, said Dustin and Cynthia made the difference in saving George’s life. “I want to commend him for the job well done,” said Daniel. “I’ve always had great respect for the Marines and the job that they do. It just shows how people can come together and be there when needed to help.”

According to Gill, any Marine with the same training would have helped in the situation. “It was an unfortunate circumstance that day, but I’m glad I was there when I was. I wish George a speedy recovery.”

Time Tested: Airman serves 21 years on same aircraft



By Master Sgt. Eric Sharman, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published September 04, 2017

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Since entering active military service in 1956, the C-130 Hercules has earned its place in the storied history of air power, time and time again. From Vietnam all the way up through Operation Inherent Resolve, the C-130 has always made a name for itself by providing critical airlift.

For Master Sgt. Norbert Feist, a 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130H crew chief, one C-130 in particular has a special place in his personal Air Force storybook.

Feist, a Minnesota Air National Guardsman deployed from the 133rd Airlift Wing, has worked on tail number 1004 for 21 of the 30 year he’s been in service. He’s been the lead crew chief on that aircraft for the last 12 years.

“I’ve been with this aircraft since it was almost brand new,” Feist said. “One guy did the factory acceptance inspections on it, and I’ve been running it ever since. I definitely have a really good bond with her, and I’m glad I never had to switch airplanes.”

As would be expected over the 21 years, Feist has developed a sense of ownership and responsibility toward the airplane he’s spent more than two-thirds of his career with. Not unlike an Airman with a long service record, tail 1004 has its own personality quirks.

“The crew door has always been tough to open. It’s been tough since it was new,” said Feist. “After so long, you get to know a plane, and the little intricacies that come with it. And we always get the weird stuff, like right now we are repairing a bird strike, when just a few years ago we hit one in Yuma (Arizona). It flies really well for a while, and then something odd like that happens.”

Regardless of random birds, stubborn doors, or other oddities, tail 1004 has coincidentally been mission-ready when needed.

“I call it the bilge pump, because it’s always been there to bail another plane out,” boasted Feist. “The minute it sits spare, I know that another plane is going to have an issue, and mine will get called up. If it is on alert status, it always seems to get called up to save the day.”

It’s that resilience that gives Feist a sense of pride in his mission and his aircraft. Currently on his ninth deployment, Feist has a keen understanding of the impact he and his aircraft have on the mission.

“Deployments are when you get to do the job that you’ve trained for, and it’s a lot of work to keep these airplanes flying in these austere conditions,” said Feist. “It’s either solid with people or solid with pallets, and always at max weight between cargo, people and fuel. We’re at full utilization, no doubt about it.”

The C-130 primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas, according to the official Air Force fact sheet on the aircraft. This versatility and demand take a toll on the time-tested but venerable aircraft.

“The mission over here is hauling beans, bullets and people. We go up-country, and what we do is very important,” said Feist. “Our mission is important because we are getting people to the fight, and we’re hauling the materials that are required for the fight, so we’re definitely very much part of the mission for sure.”

HSC-7, HSC-28 Transition Support of Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ernest Scott, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 and HSC-28 began transitioning support of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, Sept. 2, to HSC-21 and HSC-23.

Since arriving in Texas, HSC-7 and HSC-28 flew 49 sorties accumulating 225 flight hours, including 65 hours at night. They combined for 358 rescues while saving 22 dogs, 5 cats, conducting 9 personnel transfers and delivering 1660lbs of water and food.

With the demand of search and rescue (SAR) missions decreasing, HSC-21 and HSC-23 are expected to focus largely on logistics support and supply delivery.

"What we are seeing is a shift from SAR, to a relief posture," said Lt. Steve Niets, a pilot assigned to HSC-28. "Our crews are working together, integrating with each other, and preparing for the swap."

Although the primary mission may be changing, Lt. Cmdr. Spencer Fishman, the officer in charge of HSC-28, said the squadrons are always prepared to carry out rescue operations.

"Our Sailors are highly trained and always ready to conduct search and rescue," said Fishman. "Even when we are delivering supplies, our crew is fully prepared to help those in harms way."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Air Force Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander of U.S. Northern Command, announced during a press conference, Sept. 1, that while many areas are still hazardous, food and water is being continuously delivered to seven major distribution locations.

Ensuring these centers remain stocked is an all hands effort.

"Something we do very well in our squadrons and as a Navy is work as a team," said Fishman. "We are out there flying, operations is planning, and our maintainers work around the clock to get the job done."

The full transition of support between squadrons will take approximately 24 hours to complete. During this time, HSC-7 and HSC-28 will share with their replacements region specific logistics and lessons learned.

"These squadrons understand humanitarian relief and [Defense Support of Civil Authorities], it's something we train for," said Fishman. "The number one thing we pass on is our lessons learned - who's the point of contact for specific situations, what's the battle rhythm you can expect from your team - all the little details that will ensure our turnover is seamless."

For the Sailors departing, their time in Texas has been a truly memorable experience.

"Everything about this has been so humbling," said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Amber Ford, assigned to HSC-7. "Getting the call at night to leave the next morning was when I realized 'Ok, this needs to be done.' You hear it on the news, but being here you see how important this relief is. That, along with how supportive the entire community has been makes me proud to be here and proud to be in the Navy."