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Oregon National Guard Airmen Recognized for Bravery

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Yuki Klein,
  • 142nd Wing

PORTLAND AIR GUARD STATION, Ore. - In May, during a casual drive over a mountain toward Three Rivers Marina on Lake Billy Chinook, Staff Sgt. Mara Fenwick and Senior Airman Bailey Buck, both weapons loaders with the Portland Air National Guard’s 142nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, found themselves faced with a life-or-death situation while off duty.

Their Memorial Day weekend took a dramatic turn when they noticed a hillside on fire. Without hesitation, they sprang into action, with Fenwick staying on the road to call 911 while Buck and a companion ran down to investigate.

“What we discovered was like a movie scene. The car was down there, the driver was unconscious, and the flames were getting closer,” Buck recalled.

Despite the difficult situation, Fenwick and Buck remained calm and focused, doing everything they could to help. They assisted in extinguishing the fire, ensuring the safety of bystanders, and coordinating with emergency services until help arrived.

“We didn’t pull him out because the car was on its side, crumpled against trees. He was … pinned up against a tree, and the driver was on the ground, completely knocked out,” explained Fenwick.

Despite their heroic actions, both Airmen downplayed their actions.

“We just did what we could to keep the scene safe until professionals came to take over,” said Fenwick.

Though they viewed their actions to be nothing out of the ordinary, they have not gone unnoticed by their leadership.

“They are both super humble … but that’s what makes our folks great,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Rosso, 142nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant. “The extraordinary is our normal!”

Their story is a reminder of the impact ordinary people can have when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

On Feb. 25, 2024, Col. David Christensen, 142nd Maintenance Group commander, presented both Airmen with meritorious service medals for their bravery.

“Their actions, demonstrating their training in stressful situations and first aid, have not only saved a life but also set a remarkable example of service and dedication,” said Christensen.