Recognition for chopper crash service

Commander of the 932nd Airlift Wing, Col. Jonathan Philebaum, recognized Capt. Bradley Stone and Senior Airman Samantha Strom (pictured here) by calling their names before the unit at his recent March commander's call. He presented Strom a coin and thanked her for helping victims of a helicopter crash near Pearl Harbor. Stone and Strom, both assigned to the 932nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (Reserve), were touring Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during down time on a deployment Feb. 18 when they heard a crash in the nearby harbor waters. We saw everyone running, but we really weren't sure what had happened, said Strom. A lady nearby said it looked like a helicopter had just fell out of the sky. Both of them started running to where the noise had come from and saw the helicopter submerged under 15-20 feet of water. There were four people above the water, she said. Everyone was asking how many people were on board. That's when we discovered that there was still one person missing. That person was a 16-year-old who was still trapped and had to be cut free, according to news reports. Stone said the teen was positioned half way out of the helicopter but that he was tangled in a rope. After what he described was about 10 minutes, Stone and others who were aiding in the rescue were finally able to cut him free. While Stone assisted with the teenager, Strom tended to four others who had suffered injuries. Strom said, I was holding one of the victims, because he said he had a back injury. I was asking him if he could feel his feet or wiggle his toes. She also assisted local emergency responders in placing the injured on backboards to be taken to a nearby hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Hodges, story background by Senior Airman Jake Eckhardt)

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