December 2005.pmd - 440th Airlift Wing

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December 2005.pmd - 440th Airlift Wing

Above: Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Tim Wilkinson shares his stories of survival on the streets of Somalia in 1993 to more than 130 reservistsattending Generations of Honor during the November UTA in Heritage Hall. Below: Jim Krucas, a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II, recallsfighting the Germans throughout Europe. The men were joined by seven other veterans for the event (see pages 4-5).The GreatestGenerationsVeterans’ stories of struggle and triumphinspire next generation of heroesby Tech. Sgt. Steve StaedlerLooking at pictures of himselfsome 30 years ago carrying a backpackweighing nearly 100 pounds,U.S. Army Capt. David Serikakuremembers that day in Vietnam as ifit happened yesterday.“You can see the way I’m leaningover,” he says of the photographshowing him trying to support theweight. “That was heavy...thosewere the days.”Captain Serikaku was joined byeight other veterans who shared“their days” of war and personalbattle at Generations of Honor, aprogram for junior enlisted and officersof the 440th Airlift Wing tohear firsthand accounts of the veterans’personal experiences with war,conflict and heroism.“Since many of our youngermembers are being activated, theknowledge and advice of veteransthat have gone before is very valuableto them,” said 440th Public AffairsCapt. Keith Leistekow, whoorganized the event with Lt. ColonelsJoe Almodovar and LarryGuenther.photos by Tech. Sgt. Pat KumineczThe Flying Badger December 2005 Page 3


Extra Credit GivesExtra Shot at Lifeby Maj. Ann Peru KnabeImagine Major Phillips’shock two years later when the nationalregistry called to tell him hewas a potential donor match for aperson who was dying of cancer.Just three weeks after that initialphone call in November 2004, theregistry called back and said theythought they had a better matchfrom a different donor.Although a little disappointed,Major Phillips went on with his life,not looking back.“Never say never,” he said,“because the registry called again inJune 2005.”At the time, Major Phillipswas training at an exercise called SilverFlag at Tyndall AFB, Fla. Remarkably,he happened to have hiscell phone on when the registrycalled.“They asked for another bloodsample,” he said. “And two weekslater a package came in the mail withlife insurance and disability policiesthat would be taken out on my behalfif I decided to donate.”Undaunted by the paperwork,Major Phillips filled out the applications.He also underwent extensivemedical testing to ensure he wasan appropriate donor candidate.By Oct. 2, the major was inWashington, D.C., ready to undergothe procedure.The major’s bone marrow extractiondiffered from that of previous440 th reservists who had been“tapped” as positive donormatches. In most cases, a largeneedle was inserted into the donors’hip bone, and marrow was extractedPage 8 The Flying Badger December 2005FINAL NOTESThree years ago donating bone marrow was the farthestthing from Maj. David Phillips mind. Then a captain,the civil engineer reservist was focusing on making it throughSquadron Officers School at Maxwell AFB, Ala. When hisinstructor offered “extra points” to any SOS students whoregistered with the National Bone Marrow Registry, the reservistdonated a small vial of blood and took the extra creditpoints.in a painful process.In Major Phillips’ case, the proceduretook longer, but was less invasivewith a quicker recovery.For five days in a row, the majorreceived two injections offligrastim, a steroid that causes thebody to overproduce white bloodcells and bone marrow. On the morningof the fifth day, he received hislast two shots, ate breakfast, and440th Airlift WingOffice of Public Affairs300 East College AvenueGen. Mitchell Air Reserve Station, WI 53207was hooked up to a dialysis machinefor five hours. A centrifuge separatedthe bone marrow, white blood cellsand plasma,and then returnedMajorPhillips’ bloodto his body.While thereservist wasstill recoveringfrom the procedure,a courierTo the family of:“They asked for anotherblood sample. And twoweeks later a packagecame in the mail with lifeinsurance and disabilitypolicies that would betaken out on my behalf ifI decided to donate.”grabbed thepriceless donationand ran outof the lobby ofthe medical facility, heading to awaiting cab.An unknown distance away, a32-year-old woman waited for hersecond chance at life.“I was pretty excited about thewhole process,” said Major Phillips.“How many times in life do youhave the opportunity to save someoneelse’s life without really jeopardizingyour own?”The major described the donationprocess as a “minor inconve-nience when you look at the big picture.”“The time it takes, and actualdonation, arepriceless to anotherhumanbeing,” he said.If the recipientneedsanother bonemarrow donation,MajorPhillips isready to giveagain.“I am deploying to the desert,”he said, referring to an upcoming airexpeditionary force tour. “But theytold me they would fly me home ifshe needs more bone marrow.”Major Phillips was recentlynotified the recipient is doing well.The patient also sent Major Phillipsa thank you card – letting him knowshe appreciated his gift of life.Maj. David PhillipsPRESORTEDFIRST-CLASS MAILU.S. POSTAGE PAIDMILWAUKEE, WIPERMIT NO. 1885

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