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Flight line security ensures safety even off the runway
Senior Airman Kourtlyn Stafford posts security June 3, 2011, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Airmen being assigned to a security post could be the result of a distinguished visitor, in-flight emergency, ground emergency or a number of other events calling for this mission requirement. Airman Stafford is a security forces journeyman assigned to 466th Air Expeditionary Wing Flight Line Security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Willard E. Grande II)
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Flightline security ensures safety even off the runway

Posted 6/4/2011   Updated 6/4/2011 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Emily F. Alley
451 AEW Public Affairs

6/4/2011 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The Airmen of the 466th Air Expeditionary Wing flightline security office keep the area immediately around the single runway of Kandahar Airfield safe, but on May 26 one team had the opportunity to use its skills away from the planes that constantly rumble in and out of KAF.

That night, Staff Sgt. Alicia Estes and Senior Airman Kourtlyn Stafford saved a soldier from a gasoline fire.

The flightline security teammates had driven to a base gas station to refuel their truck.

Sergeant Estes was pumping the gas when Airman Stafford yelled that he saw a fire. They rushed to the flames--Airman Stafford to the truck and Sergeant Estes to the Soldier lying on the ground. Onlookers were trying to put out the fire by beating it with their shirts.

"They were smacking him with blouses, dousing him with a fire extinguisher," Sergeant Estes said.

Sergeant Estes was concerned because the blouses seemed to only fan the flames more and she didn't want to suffocate the man with the fire extinguisher. She took a blouse from a nearby Soldier and laid it over the fire, which stifled it. It singed her uniform and left black burn marks on her red flightline security arm band. Finally, she treated the victim for shock.

An ambulance later arrived and transported the Soldier to the KAF hospital.

Meanwhile, Airman Stafford had managed to extinguish the fire near the Army vehicle. He was told later that the fire had been caused by a spark from static buildup. The fire was near the truck's fuel bladder and he managed to stop it before it spread.

"The whole compound could have blown up. That's the scariest thing," said Estes.

Fortunately, the two were prepared because they had completed training on both how to use fire extinguishers as well as combat lifesaver skills. Sergeant Estes also had a background as a self aid and buddy care instructor so she knew how to treat the Soldier's third-degree burns.

The Airmen were commended by flightline security supervisor Tech. Sgt. Michael Munyon, who said their initiative and caliber of heroism was not surprising. According to the Airmen, though, they were just at the right place at the right time to help someone in need.

"We were just there," said Stafford. "Somebody needed help."

Even though they were off the runway, these flightline security Airmen were ready to save lives.

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