C-17 Loadmaster Helps to Save Lives, Earns Award for Valor

The composure and professionalism of a C-17 loadmaster played a key role in helping to save the lives of three critically wounded US personnel injured in an attempted rescue mission in South Sudan. That performance has earned SrA. Cody Nunez of the 21st Airlift Squadron the Gen. P. K. Carlton Award for Valor from the Airlift Tanker Association. Nunez was aboard a fully loaded Globemaster III preparing for takeoff at the end of a humanitarian relief mission in Entebbe, Uganda, last December when the crew was ordered to delay departure to receive three inbound patients. Three Air Force Special Operations CV-22s, including one that Nunez said “was shot up pretty bad,” landed nearby, while the loadmasters swiftly removed enough cargo and passengers to accommodate the wounded and the medics treating them. In an Air Force release, Nunez said he had to counter the orders from an Army Special Forces officer on how to perform the offload, assuring him they would do it correctly and quickly. With the load adjusted and litters and support equipment for the wounded installed, the C-17 made a quick flight to Nairobi, Kenya, where the patients could receive advanced medical care.