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9/11 prompts former Marine to serve in AMDS

  • Published
  • By Capt. Wilson Wise
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 Jason Thomas dropped his daughter off at his mother’s home in Hempstead, New York. The former Marine infantry sergeant was adjusting to civilian life after eight years in the Marine Corps when he heard the devastating news of an attack on the World Trade Center.

Sergeant Thomas immediately leapt into action. Donning his Marine uniform from the trunk of his car, he went to “ground zero” to see if there was any way he could help in the aftermath.

During the course of the day, Sergeant Thomas aided dozens of victims of the terrorist attack. Fortunately, Thomas met a fellow Marine, Staff Sgt. David Karnes, and together they looked for survivors in wreckage that was deemed unsafe for search and rescue.

The two Marines located two survivors in an elevator shaft. New York Port Authority officers Will Jimeno and Sergeant John McLoughlin are alive today because of the bravery of the two Marines. The rescue has been documented in the media and in Oliver Stone’s film, “World Trade Center.”

Sergeant Thomas’ valor did not end there. He selflessly returned to ground zero for 20 days following the attack to aid in search and rescue efforts.

Now an Air Force Reserve technical sergeant, Thomas recounts how he felt that day.

“I did not want to feel that someone needed help and not help them.”

The number of people who needed assistance that day planted a seed in Jason’s mind that ultimately led him to the medical field.

After relocating his family to Columbus Ohio, Thomas joined the 445th Aerospace Medicine Squadron in 2012 as a medical technician. In this position, the Reserve Citizen Airman works in the family birthing center, gives immunizations, administers hearing tests, and performs other duties in the emergency room and intensive care unit.

The NCO is thrilled with his position in the wing.

“I hope Wright Patterson Air Force Base is where I will stay the remainder of my career. There’s so much to learn here,” Thomas said.

In addition to his primary duties, Thomas serves alongside Master Sgt. Jeffrey Vaughan as the self-aid and buddy care instructor for the wing and as the primary instructor for AMDS.

Lt. Col. Todd Everett, an administrator in the squadron lauds Thomas’ leadership.

“Sergeant Thomas instills a sense of calmness and security by his mere presence. His sense of duty and respect puts him in a category of superior performer and a role model for all Airmen to follow.”

Thomas plans to attend nursing school in the future to expand his healthcare skills. “There’s nothing greater than serving. What we do really makes a difference,” Thomas added