Staff Sgt. Terry White

by Kim Gamel
Stars and Stripes

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The Patriot Express, a biweekly military-chartered flight from South Korea to Seattle, got off to an unusual start Thursday.

Passengers were informed takeoff would be slightly delayed because an airman had the wrong rank on his paperwork. Staff Sgt. Terry White was asked to gather his belongings and go to the front of the plane.

But instead of an embarrassing rebuke, White was awarded a surprise promotion to technical sergeant by 51st Fighter Wing commander Col. William Betts and other officers. They pinned his new stripes on his T-shirt.

Passengers’ expressions of concern turned to smiles and applause. A film crew that had been pretending to document the boarding process captured the moment.

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