US airman who dragged three people to safety from burning wreckage of plane to get Airman’s Medal for heroic act

Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz

Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz - Credit: Archant

A US airman who dragged three people from the burning wreckage of a plane crash, extinguishing flames with his bare hands, will today be recognised for his bravery.

Members of the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, welcome Professor Stephen Hawking, University of

Members of the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, welcome Professor Stephen Hawking, University of Cambridge professor and best-selling author, to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Dec. 29, 2013. From left to right: Master Sgt. Patrick Robison, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Vass, Staff Sgt. Joshua Angus, Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Palmer and Staff Sgt. Blake Parrish. Hawking stopped by the base for an impromptu visit. Picture: RAF Sqn. Ldr. Jerry Neild) - Credit: Archant

At RAF Lakenheath, The U.S Air Force will award Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz the Airman’s Medal during the wing’s 2015 Maintenance Professional of the Year Awards Banquet.

A U.S Air Force spokesman said: “In the aftermath of a fatal plane crash at Los Llanos Air Base in Spain, Swarz exposed himself multiple times to intense heat, toxic smoke and flying debris to give lifesaving first aid for three French airmen wounded in the explosion and ensuing fire.

“Swarz dragged two airmen from the accident site to safety while extinguishing flames with his bare hands.

“Ignoring his own injuries, he exposed himself to danger again to retrieve a third airman from the crash site. “Finally, Swarz transferred the wounded airmen to a makeshift emergency vehicle and gave medical treatment until the first ambulance arrived.”


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The Airman’s Medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the U.S. or of a friendly nation who, while serving with the U.S. Air Force, distinguish themselves by a heroic act, usually at the risk of their own life.

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