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Chief’s Corner – week of April 23

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Heroes among us

I love reading stories about our Airmen displaying astonishing courage under extraordinary conditions.  Here are just a few of my favorites that inspire me.
Staff Sgt. Travis Sanford, 10th Combat Weather Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
During an attack by insurgents in Afghanistan, Sanford rendered life-saving medical attention to a Marine while exposing himself to enemy fire. He then helped load the Marine on a stretcher and moved him to an evacuation point, while further exposing his position to the enemy. Throughout the ordeal, Sanford continued to perform his duties as a special operations weatherman. Once the patient was loaded onto a helicopter, Sanford ran back to join his teammates in the firefight.

Staff Sgt. Trevor Brewer, 48th Security Forces Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom. As Brewer waited on a bus with 14 other security forces Airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, a gunman boarded and began shooting. Brewer managed to distract the gunman and chased him off the bus through the crowded airport terminal and prevented the gunman's escape until German police arrived.

Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, U.K.
While serving with Army scouts in Afghanistan, Wallace and the team were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Throughout the initial stages of the fight, he alternated between engaging the enemy with his rifle and documenting the fight with his camera. He was eventually wounded and knocked unconscious, but recovered quickly and re-joined the fight, helping to pinpoint enemy locations and investigating an evacuation route for the wounded. Due to his contributions, none of the injured Soldiers were killed.

These are certainly excellent examples of Airmen exhibiting courage and service before self.  Airmen, just like you and me, who put themselves in harm's way to complete the mission, protect and defend.  If put in a similar situation, I believe all of us who wear the uniform, would have the courage to do what these Airmen did. It's comforting to know unassuming Airmen heroes, who have been put to the test and passed, walk among our ranks today.  The full stories for the members listed above, and many, more can be found on the Portraits of Courage website (
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