Lt. Col. Richard Lowe, a flight instructor with Air Force Reserve Command’s 39th Flying Training Squadron at Randolph AFB, Tex., has received the Airman’s Medal for rescuing passengers and crew from a burning commercial airliner on Dec. 20, 2008. A Continental Airlines pilot when not in uniform, Lowe was himself a passenger that day on Continental flight 1404 when it skidded off the runway at Denver International Airport, crashed into a ditch, and then burst into flames. Lowe helped evacuate his fellow travelers, making several trips in and out of the burning airplane, which exploded just seconds after Lowe exited it for the final time. “I’m humbled and honored that my peers would nominate me for this award,” said Lowe during the Dec. 10 awards ceremony. He added that his military training helped keep him calm that day. The Airman’s Medal recognizes heroism displayed while not in combat with an armed enemy. (Randolph report by Amn. Alexis Siekert) (See also Houston Chronicle report)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.