Editorâ€™s Note: The â€œPeople Firstâ€ section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Special tactics officer awarded Air Force Cross
In a harrowing 10-hour battle amidst more than 100 insurgents, a special tactics officer kept the enemy at bay with a little help from above.
Capt. Barry Crawford Jr. was awarded the Air Force Cross during a Pentagon ceremony April 12 for his heroic actions controlling the air space and calling in airstrikes during the 2010 battle in Afghanistan, which allowed his special operations team to get out of the kill zone and ultimately saved the lives of his American comrades.
While assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Crawford was the Joint Terminal Attack Controller for an Army Special Forces and Afghan commando team.
Crawford called in multiple fixed and rotary wing air assets, allowing for the safe return of all U.S. forces, the evacuation of two Afghan commandos killed in action, and the rescue of three other wounded Afghan commandos.
â€œCrawford repeatedly and conspicuously disregarded his own safety to assist his United States and Afghan teammates,â€ said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, shortly before presenting the captain the Air Force Cross during the ceremony. â€œIt is not hard to be utterly impressed by his bravery and inspired by his selflessness.â€
Armed Services Blood Program helps save lives
Military members and civilians have a unique opportunity to support military hospitals, ships, combat support hospitals and medics on the frontline regardless of where they are stationed by giving blood and platelet donations to the Armed Services Blood Program.
The ASBP is a military blood program in the United States that provides quality blood products and services to customers worldwide in peace and war.
â€œDonating blood is important because, currently, there is no substitute for whole blood or platelets for the human body to nourish its cells once there is a large amount of blood loss due to injury or some type of disease process,â€ said Jerrick Alexander, a blood donor recruiter.
Individuals are given the option to donate whole blood or platelets.
Whole blood donation takes approximately an hour and about one pint is withdrawn at a time, while platelet donation can take up to two hours, Alexander said. The big difference in the two is when giving platelets, only part of the blood is donated. The rest is returned intravenously to the person.
Overcoming sexual assault: A victimâ€™s candid story
Living has always been a challenge for Senior Airman Jane Smith.
Seemingly born into an uphill world, physically and emotionally tested at every step, spirituality had continually strengthened her and still propels her forward in life, she said.
Smith was nearly driven to suicide after being sexually assaulted in 2010. Though raped and robbed of her dignity, 21-year-old Smith rebounded, vowing, â€œIâ€™m going to make it.â€
To some, Smithâ€™s story may be all too familiar; to others, itâ€™s an unbelievably grim tale. For Smith, itâ€™s a tragic account of a life sheâ€™s lived and matured from. She said she hopes that through the price sheâ€™s already paid, others may grow stronger and wiser.
Smithâ€™s calamity started at birth.
Born to a drug-addicted mother, Jane was abandoned before her second birthday, lived briefly in a foster home and was later adopted by the man she grew to know as, â€˜Dad.â€™
The young Jane had trust issues and always felt she was living someone elseâ€™s life.
â€œStill, through dedication and persistence, I did well in school, and studied difficult subjects like Latin and (higher) maths,â€ Smith said.
Earth Day calls for broader focus at all levels
Each year when Earth Day rolls around, I make a commitment to pay greater attention to our natural environment, to shift focus from seemingly inconsequential daily activities to the greater task of preserving and improving our natural environment, said Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.
But this way of thinking misses the mark.
Earth Day isnâ€™t a time to shift focus, but to broaden it.
It isnâ€™t the time to put aside our very real professional, financial and mission concerns, but to take a step back and consider how the environment â€” particularly pollution prevention and our role in it â€” is woven into the very fabric of those concerns.
The military has long sought to be a good environmental caretaker. At installations around the United States, weâ€™ve pushed ahead with programs to preserve rare bird and fish species, preserve forests and wetlands, and, in the case of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., brought in archaeologists to unearth centuries-old Spanish artifacts.