Osan airmen, soldiers honored for rescuing local family from fire
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Fifteen airmen, soldiers and a civilian were honored Friday for saving a family from a fire while they were off-duty in a shopping district near the base.
The dramatic rescue was captured on cell phone footage, with the Americans and local residents using a blanket to catch a woman and her three children as she dropped them from a window in an apartment building, then jumped out.
The commanders of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 51st Fighter Wing said their actions showed the value of being good neighbors as well as good warriors.
“It shows how we can all come together,” Col. Andrew Hansen, commander of the 35th ADA, said after the men and women filed onto the stage to receive an Air Force commendation medal.
The Nigerian family was on hand to express gratitude.
“Thank you for allowing God to allow you to protect the civilians,” the father, Prince Enyioko, said as wife Precious and their three children sat in the front row of the auditorium at Osan Air Base.
The brigade also provided new details about the April 29 rescue, saying Air Force Staff Sgt. Cierra Rogers was getting her hair braided in the Songtan district building when she smelled the fire. Rogers was injured and fell trying to find a safe way out for the family.
The other Americans reacted quickly upon seeing the mother holding a child out the window. Several grabbed blankets and cushions from a nearby shop to create a “makeshift trampoline.” They then caught the children and the woman with the help of several local residents. Others administered first aid.
“When we saw the kids we just knew we had to help so we just jumped in,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Michael Henry, of Lake Charles, La.