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MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Dan met Suzanne at church while attending the University of Central Arkansas. “She saw my son and he saw her and sparks flew,” Dan Wassom Sr. said. The couple had been married for nearly a decade before the tornado tore them apart. (Courtesy photo)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Sifting through the rubble, locals were devastated by the EF-4 tornado that ripped through the small town of Vilonia. The twister destroyed 50 of the 56 homes in the Wassom’s subdivision and took the lives of 16 people. Among the things recovered in the debris were the Wassom’s beloved cat and two dogs — one of which turned up a month later. All three pets miraculously survived. (Courtesy photo)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Sydney, 7, and Lorelai, 5, draws chalk messages to their deceased father, Master Sgt. Daniel r. Wassom II. Daniel and Pamela Wassom, parents of Master Sgt. Daniel R. Wassom II, tell the story of the one night that changed their life forever. Late one night a tornado in Vilonia, Ark., not only destroyed their son’s neighborhood. It took the life of their son, April 27, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/ Not released)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Sydney, 7, and Lorelai, 5, draws chalk messages to their deceased father, Master Sgt. Daniel r. Wassom II. Daniel and Pamela Wassom, parents of Master Sgt. Daniel R. Wassom II, tell the story of the one night that changed their life forever. Late one night a tornado in Vilonia, Ark., not only destroyed their son’s neighborhood. It took the life of their son, April 27, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 9/18/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Sydney, 7, and Lorelai, 5, draws chalk messages to their deceased father, Master Sgt. Daniel r. Wassom II. Daniel and Pamela Wassom, parents of Master Sgt. Daniel R. Wassom II, tell the story of the one night that changed their life forever. Late one night a tornado in Vilonia, Ark., not only destroyed their son’s neighborhood. It took the life of their son, April 27, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 9/18/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Daniel Wassom, father of Master Sgt. Daniel R. Wassom II, tells stories of spending time rebuilding the 1934 Ford Coupe with his son. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/ Released)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Dan Sr. and Pam are thankful for the generous outpouring they received. “I didn’t have to cook for a week,” Pam said. “Complete strangers sent us several packages and money, all of which we handed over to Suzanne. One friend even set up a fund that raised $63,000 for Bud’s family.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/ Released)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 9/3/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Pamela Wassom, mother of Master Sgt. Daniel R. Wassom II, holds her son’s flight jacket recovered from Master Sgt. Wassom’s destroyed home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/ Released)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

MISSING DANMISSING DAN
MISSING DAN

Daddy’s girls through and through, Sydney (left) and Lorelai loved to take walks in the park with their dad, Master Sgt. Dan “Bud” Wassom II. The girls had their lives turned upside down when a tornado hit Vilonia, Ark., April 27, destroying their home and taking their daddy’s life. (photo illustration by David M. Stack)
MISSING DAN


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Posted: 8/29/2014

Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, Air Force Chief of SafetyMaj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, Air Force Chief of Safety
Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, Air Force Chief of Safety

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, Air Force Chief of Safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., participates in an interview in support of mishap prevention within the U.S. Air Force, Mar. 11, 2014, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/ Released)
Maj. Gen. Kurt ...


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Posted: 8/29/2014

NINE FEET TO AGONYNINE FEET TO AGONY
NINE FEET TO AGONY

Van Elsberg spent months in a cast after a complicated foot surgery and a long recovery period. (photo by Karen Van Elsberg)
NINE FEET TO ...


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Posted: 8/29/2014

NINE FEET TO AGONYNINE FEET TO AGONY
NINE FEET TO AGONY

An orthopedic surgeon with Southern Bone and Joint in Dothan, Ala., Dr. David Alford shows the damage done to Bob Van Elsberg's heel after a fall from a ladder. Van Elsberg spent months in a cast. (photo by Bob Van Elsberg)
NINE FEET TO ...


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Posted: 8/29/2014

NINE FEET TO AGONYNINE FEET TO AGONY
NINE FEET TO AGONY

While cleaning his gutters, an Air Force retiree fell off his ladder. (photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Sy Pinthong / Dave Stack)
NINE FEET TO ...


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Posted: 8/29/2014

OF BIKES AND BRAINS - Driving a motorcycle while drunk shattered an Airman’s skull and wrecked his careerOF BIKES AND BRAINS - Driving a motorcycle while drunk shattered an Airman’s skull and wrecked his career
OF BIKES AND BRAINS - Driving a motorcycle while drunk shattered an Airman’s skull and wrecked his career

Tech. Sgt. Mark Hopkins has loved motorcycles his whole life, but on May 27, 2012, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his life. Blood tests showed Hopkins, from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., had a blood alcohol level about twice the legal limit when the accident occurred and was wearing a helmet not approved by the Department of Transportation. (Courtesy photo)
OF BIKES AND ...


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Posted: 10/24/2013

THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER - Man has deadly reaction to black widow biteTHE ITSY BITSY SPIDER - Man has deadly reaction to black widow bite
THE ITSY BITSY SPIDER - Man has deadly reaction to black widow bite

A black widow, with its distinctive red hourglass markings, is America’s most recognizable spider … and one of its most dangerous. (Courtesy photo by Ryan Wunsch/Released)
THE ITSY BITSY ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

SEVEN! (Update) Group of Airmen conquers tallest peaks on every continentSEVEN! (Update) Group of Airmen conquers tallest peaks on every continent
SEVEN! (Update) Group of Airmen conquers tallest peaks on every continent

After practicing ice climbing techniques, members of the USAF 7 Summits Challenge team pose on the Khumbu Glacier at Everest Base Camp, Nepal (17,500ft). April 2013. (Courtesy photo) From L-R: Capt Marshall Klitzke, SSgt Nick Gibson, Maj Malcolm Schongalla, Capt Megan Harkins, Maj Rob Marshall, Capt Kyle Martin, Capt Colin Merrin, Capt Heidi Kent, Capt Andrew Ackles.
SEVEN! (Update) ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

SLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIASLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIA
SLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIA

With the girl dying from hypothermia, White (center) had to work fast, not only to get her body temperature up but to administer CPR after she stopped breathing twice. (Courtesy photo)
SLIDING INTO ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

SLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIASLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIA
SLIDING INTO HYPOTHERMIA

To beat the summer heat, locals flock to a popular swimming hole at University Falls in a remote canyon of the Sierra foothills near Beale AFB, Calif. Area emergency services have responded to a dramatic increase in rescues from the isolated location in recent years. (Courtesy photo)
SLIDING INTO ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

LESSONS I LEARNED AT UNIVERSITY FALLSLESSONS I LEARNED AT UNIVERSITY FALLS
LESSONS I LEARNED AT UNIVERSITY FALLS

Maj. Jaesin White, commander of the 940th Logistics Readiness Squadron, a Reserve unit at Beale AFB, California saves teenager’s life at remote California waterfall. (Courtesy photo)
LESSONS I ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATSNIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS
NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS

Located about 11 miles northwest of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, is the true “bat cave.” Bracken Cave nests millions of migratory Mexican free-tailed bats from March to October and is the largest bat and mammalian colony on earth. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Benedet/Released)
NIGHT FLYING ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATSNIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS
NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS

Bats are natural enemies of night-flying insects — and aircraft. The millions of Mexican free-tailed bats at Bracken Bat Cave in Texas eat up to 200 tons of insects nightly, resulting in 20 to 40 feet of guano lying on the cavern floor. The waste goes through a process of natural decomposition aided by guano beetles and decomposing microbes. As a result, guano contains powerful decomposing microbes, which help control soil-borne diseases. Confederate soldiers even mined bat guano for saltpeter to make gunpowder. The U.S. Government at one time even offered free land to those who found guano deposits and made it available to the public.
NIGHT FLYING ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATSNIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS
NIGHT FLYING MISSIONS VS MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS

The majority of the bats in Bracken Cave are females nursing their babies, so every evening during these months they emerge between 6 and 8 p.m. to feed. Because of the sheer volume of these tiny winged creatures, base training aircraft can find themselves battling the bats for airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Benedet/Released)
NIGHT FLYING ...


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Posted: 10/23/2013

MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shore ... alive!MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shore ... alive!
MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shore ... alive!

Miles from shore, Robert Spence had to make it to land by swimming — with his broken jet ski in tow. (U.S. Air photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/Released)
MEMORIAL DAY ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!
MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!

An avid fan of water sports, Spence spends many days at lakes enjoying his jet ski. But all that experience didn’t help when he lost his focus and let his guard down. (U.S. Air photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/Released)
MEMORIAL DAY ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!
MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!

When water got into battery contacts that were already corroded, Spence’s machine would no longer start! (U.S. Air photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/Released)
MEMORIAL DAY ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with  a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!
MEMORIAL DAY MIRACLE - Alone in the middle of a lake in a foreign country, a man with a busted jet ski has to figure out how to get to shoshore ... alive!

When jet skiing, pack your emergency gear. (U.S. Air photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong/Released)
MEMORIAL DAY ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

HANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical careHANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical care
HANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical care

Capt. Ashly Barnes, 36th Rescue Flight standardization and evaluation liaison officer, prepares a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter for take-off at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., April 5, 2013. Barnes received the 2012 Air Education Training Command Aviator valor award for distinguishing herself as a pilot during a rescue mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Janelle Patiño)
HANGING IN THE ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

HANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical careHANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical care
HANGING IN THE BALANCE - When an Airman suffers a severe head injury deep in the forests, Wash., it’s up to an Air Force helicopter crew to pluck him out of the wilderness to get him to desperately needed emergency medical care

An Airman injured while going through Air Force Survival School at Fairchild AFB, Wash., had to be hoisted into an UH-1 helicopter in an emergency medical air evacuation. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen)
HANGING IN THE ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

When his boat didn’t stay anchored to shore, it set into motion a sequence of events that almost cost an Airman his life. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sarayuth Pinthong)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

These snapshots of Staff Sgt. Alberto Da Silva; his wife, Pam; and his daughter, Naomi, were nearly the last happy moments the family spent together after Da Silva almost drowned. (Courtesy photo)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

These snapshots of Staff Sgt. Alberto Da Silva; his wife, Pam; and his daughter, Naomi, were nearly the last happy moments the family spent together after Da Silva almost drowned. (Courtesy photo)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

These snapshots of Staff Sgt. Alberto Da Silva; his wife, Pam; and his daughter, Naomi, were nearly the last happy moments the family spent together after Da Silva almost drowned. (Courtesy photo)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

These snapshots of Staff Sgt. Alberto Da Silva; his wife, Pam; and his daughter, Naomi, were nearly the last happy moments the family spent together after Da Silva almost drowned. (Courtesy photo)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his lifeANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life
ANCHOR'S AWAY! - The tide took his boat; then it tried to take his life

These snapshots of Staff Sgt. Alberto Da Silva; his wife, Pam; and his daughter, Naomi, were nearly the last happy moments the family spent together after Da Silva almost drowned. (Courtesy photo)
ANCHOR'S AWAY! ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structureBRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure
BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure

When boaters hit an underground piling from an old bridge, the boat suffered nearly $9,000 in damage. (Courtesy photo)
BRIDGE UNDER ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structureBRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure
BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure

Driving a Mastercraft skiboat, two colonels and a 13-year old boy were lucky to escape with their lives when they hit a submerged object at Lake Amistad, Texas. (Courtesy photo)
BRIDGE UNDER ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structureBRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure
BRIDGE UNDER TROUBLED WATERS - Boaters crash into submerged structure

Lt. Col. Errol Rottman Jr. and his 13-year old son, Ryan, ready a pole for a day of fishing. But the lake turned the tables on them when it “snagged” the boat they were in. (Courtesy photo)
BRIDGE UNDER ...


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Posted: 7/12/2013

‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’
‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’

Still bearing a physical scar on his left arm from a texting and driving crash just more than three years ago, Senior Airman Caleb Zody says the emotional scars from that day are much tougher to overcome. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Brittany Chase)
‘I KILLED MY ...


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Posted: 4/25/2013

‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’
‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’

After rolling his 1994 Honda Accord three times, Zody had to have 4 inches of muscle stitched together and sewn back into his left arm and multiple stitches and staples put into his head. His car, pictured, shows the blood-soaked driver’s seat stained by his severe head injury, leaving little wonder why the Airman suffered a concussion and memory loss. (Courtesy photo)
‘I KILLED MY ...


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Posted: 4/25/2013

‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’
‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’

Senior Airman Caleb Zody rolled his vehicle three times while texting and driving. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Brittany Chase)
‘I KILLED MY ...


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Posted: 4/25/2013

‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’
‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’

Airman Jacqlyn Weir was wearing a seat belt and survived the crash. (Courtesy photo)
‘I KILLED MY ...


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Posted: 4/25/2013

‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’
‘I KILLED MY BEST FRIEND’S SISTER’

Jacqlyn's twin sister, Jessica, was not wearing a seat belt and died in the crash. (Courtesy photo)
‘I KILLED MY ...


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Posted: 4/25/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

Still holding onto her scorched flight suit, Staff Sgt. Erica Luke said she was “beyond happy” that it worked as advertised. She said she had always been taught that a flight suit was fire-retardant up to 700 to 800 degrees. But she admitted she was surprised that it was able to deflect most of the flash fire that enveloped her. She now stores the charred flight suit in a shadow box … protecting it as it once protected her. (Courtesy photo)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/26/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

When rust particles in a valve caused a spark that ignited a flash fire in a 100 percent oxygen environment, Luke didn’t escape unscathed. This picture, taken shortly after the mishap, shows where the fire melted the skin on her face and neck. (Courtesy photo)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/26/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

Long before the release of the hit song by Alicia Keys and the Hunger Games movie that further popularized the phrase, Staff Sgt. Erica Luke was the ‘Girl on Fire’ … literally (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Samuel Bendet / composite by Sammie W. King)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/25/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

Valve similar to the valves attached to the oxygen tanks used by Staff Sgt. Luke to replenish the Cessna's oxygen system. (Courtesy photo)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/26/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

Two months after the March 2007 accident, Luke met her future husband, Staff Sgt. Alexander Luke. They now have two daughters, Riley, 4, and Mya, 3, who once saw one of her mommy’s scars, pointed and asked, “Boo-boo hurt?” (Courtesy photo)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/26/2013

GIRL ON FIRE!GIRL ON FIRE!
GIRL ON FIRE!

Luke proved to be resilient despite her agonizing burns. She suffered second-degree burns to her torso just above the left armpit, the left and front of her neck, the left side of her face and ear, as well as to her left arm and both hands. (Courtesy photo)
GIRL ON FIRE!


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Posted: 4/26/2013

    

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