Portland, Ore. -- Senior Airman Susi Traudt has been a drill-status Guardsman at Portland Air National Guard Base for 4 years. As a recent search and extraction medic for the 142nd Medical Group, detachment one, Traudt trained to search and locate disaster victims, assessing and treating immediate life-threatening injuries, and stabilizing them for safe removal from the hazardous area.
Her skillset includes confined space, structural collapse, and rope rescue. Traudt said that she enjoyed the physically demanding nature of her job.
“I was already an [emergency medical technician] as a previous firefighter, so I liked the hands-on first responder role,” said Traudt.
Traudt joined the Oregon Air National Guard at 33, later in life than most, but what inspired her to serve was her husband, Tech. Sgt. Tim Traudt, a firefighter with the 142nd Civil Engineer Squadron.
“I was always so intrigued with what he did and I was so proud of him and the work he was doing,” said Traudt. “My husband really lit that fire under me to think about it. I had never considered it before.”
Since joining the unit, Traudt has become an invaluable member of TEAM 142. A highly motivated individual, Traudt recently completed her master’s degree in organizational leadership at Western Oregon University and is set to commission into the 142nd Force Support Squadron in the future.
In 2019, she began volunteering to help with run analysis and teaching best running practices for Wing members, in coordination with Run Doctor, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella.
Traudt has been an avid runner for more than a decade. Running, she said, helped her through a difficult time in her life and has since been a way to cope with life’s challenges.
“Running has really become my pressure release valve,” said Traudt. “It gives me mental clarity. It’s really like a meditative time to myself.”
Traudt’s love for running began when she completed her first race at the age of 24.
“I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for a race, but I did,” said Traudt. “It was really slow and I had to take a lot of walk breaks but I did a half marathon and I was just invigorated. Something just sparked.”
This year, Traudt had the distinct honor of being selected to run on the Air National Guard team as part of the Air and Space challenge for the 26th annual Air Force Marathon.
The Air and Space challenge involves teams from across the U.S. Air and Space Forces who compete against each other. Each team is comprised of 10 individuals, three women and seven men. Each team member will run either the full or half marathon.
Traudt was the only woman on her team to run the full marathon. This was also her first time running this race.
“It’s just a huge honor to go represent not only the Air National Guard, but our Oregon Air National Guard and our wing here, the 142nd,” said Traudt.
The race took place on the 17th of September, over the weekend of the U.S. Air Force’s 75th birthday, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Traudt, who ran the full marathon, 26.2 miles, finished the race in 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 34 seconds.
She ranked second overall military female, fifth overall female, first in her age division, and first Air and Space challenge female marathon finisher.
“It was a tremendous honor to be able to run this race on the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force,” said Traudt. “It will be a highlight in my military and personal career.”
In addition to completing the Air Force Marathon for the first time, Traudt has also qualified for the Boston Marathon and hopes to run it in 2023.