By Tech. Sgt.
15th Wing Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — Two members from 21st Space Operations Squadron, Detachment 3, at the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station received the Air Force Civilian Award for Valor, at Kaena Point, July 23.
Nearly two years ago, Jason Fukumoto and Robin Albios risked their lives to save a member of the state of Hawaii’s volunteer field crew.
“Mr. Fukumoto and Mr. Albios’ actions demonstrate the strength of both their mind and their spirits,” said Lt. Col. Wade McGrew, commander for the 21st SOPS. “Valor means going the extra step and eliminating the ‘what if’ questions. Today, there are two amongst us who don’t have to ask themselves ‘what if’.”
On Sept. 15, 2016, three members of a volunteer field crew were clearing an area near KPSTS to prepare for game bird season at Kuaokala Game Area. While spraying herbicide, the field crew discovered a small patch of grass burning underneath their vehicle.
David Yingst, a member of the field crew, jumped out of the vehicle to extinguish the fire while the other two crew members moved the vehicle to a safe area. As Yingst attempted to control the fire, but the fire suppression device stopped working.
Fukumoto and Albios were driving along the perimeter of the station when they came across the field crew. While they assisted the two state workers in the vehicle, Yingst collapsed from the smoke before he could reach the designated rally point.
After discovering Yingst was left behind in the fire hazard, Fukumoto and Albios ran into the fire area to help Yingst.
“Our first instinct was to help someone out,” added Fukumoto. “It was something I hope anyone would do.”
The fire was contained and extinguished which resulted in no casualties or property damage.
“Two years ago they made a life-saving decision. They didn’t wear capes or an iron suit, but they did step up to help someone in need,” McGrew said. “Thanks to them, loved ones are out there who don’t have to ask themselves ‘what if’.”