Wheeler Sol­dier’s Brav­ery Leads To NCO Of The Year Award

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SCHROEDER 25th Com­bat Avi­a­tion Bri­gade Pub­lic Af­fairs

A Wheeler Army Air­field flight medic has been named Army Avi­a­tion As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica Rod­ney J.T. Yano Non­com-mis­sioned Of­fi­cer of the Year.

Sgt. First Class Ar­mando Ocon was pre­sented with the award April 11 at the 2013 AAAA an­nual Pro­fes­sional Fo­rum in Fort Worth, Texas.

“I was shocked when I found out I was cho­sen to re­ceive the award,” ad­mit­ted Ocon.

Dur­ing 2012, he served as a se­nior flight medic, com­pany stan­dard­iza­tion in­struc­tor, and pla­toon sergeant for “Light­ning DUSTOFF” in Kan­da­har Prov­ince, Afghanistan.

On more than one oc­ca­sion, Ocon self­lessly risked his own safety to save troops on the bat­tle­field.

On May 8, 2012, Ocon’s air­craft was sent to evac­u­ate an Afghan in­ter­preter who was in­jured by an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice. Upon ar­rival, Ocon left the air­craft and ran ap­prox­i­mately 200 me­ters through an un­cleared mine­field to save his pa­tient.

Three weeks later, he again proved his brav­ery when his crew evac­u­ated soldiers un­der en­emy fire. Ocon as­sisted with load­ing the wounded soldiers. Af­ter tak­ing off safely, he be­gan treat­ing the pa­tients, who in­cluded a mil­i­tary po­lice dog han­dler.

The work­ing dog, think­ing he was hurt­ing his han­dler, bit Ocon on his up­per right arm. Ocon man­aged to re­strain the dog so he could con­tinue to ad­min­is­ter care to its han­dler.

“We have a de­mand­ing but re­ward­ing job,” Ocon said. “You do not do this job for medals. You do this job be­cause you want to. You feel so hum­ble about your job when some­one you saved comes up and thanks you.”

While still per­form­ing his du­ties as a flight medic, Ocon served as the pla­toon sergeant with re­spon­si­bil­ity for main­tain­ing and car­ing

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