AMXS Airmen Recognized for acts of Bravery

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Yuki Klein
  • 142nd Wing/Public Affairs

In May 2023, during a casual drive over a mountain toward Three Rivers Marina on Lake Billy Chinook, Oregon, 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," recalls Buck.

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 exuded a humble attitude, downplaying their role in the events that unfolded.

"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 142nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron 1st Sergeant, Master Sgt. Ryan Rosso. “The extraordinary is our normal!”

Their story serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that ordinary individuals can have when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

On February 25, 2024, 142nd Maintenance Group Commander, Col. David Christensen presented both Airmen with meritorious service medals for their acts of bravery.

During the small ceremony, Christensen remarked on Fenwick’s and Buck’s willingness and ability to take action in high stakes circumstances.

“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.

In the everyday chaos of life, helpers like Fenwick and Buck guide and inspire others by encouraging bravery, compassion, and selflessness.