BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
On August 14, 2021, Airman 1st Class Nadine Blackwood and Airman Samuel Workman, 9th SFS defenders, started their shift like any other day. The team was anticipating a standard shift as they took their positions at Vassar Lake Gate.
Meanwhile, outside the gate, a man driving a stolen vehicle was making his getaway from California Highway patrolmen in a high speed chase heading toward the base.
“There was a car coming, being chased by two CHP officers,” said Workman. “My wingman and I noticed it coming at a high speed, so I hit the emergency barrier.”
The defender’s quick actions were helpful, however, due to mechanical issues, only the inbound barrier raised. The oncoming car swerved out of the inbound lane and into the outbound lane in an attempt to continue his getaway, rapidly approaching the Airmen.
Simultaneously, Blackwood realized the outbound barrier had not deployed, so she hurriedly pressed the manual outbound barrier, and it raised. The felon drove straight into the barrier, and Workman got into the SFS chase vehicle and pulled up alongside the two California Highway patrollers. The local patrolmen continued to challenge the driver out of the vehicle and the suspect was taken by local medical responders to receive care.
These defenders put their countless hours of training and preparation to the test when they faced this event, and without their quick actions, the consequences from the reckless driver could have been much worse.
“I was just thinking, is this real,” said Workman. “Things like this don’t just happen.”
Both teammates' gut instinct was rooted in service to the safety of Recce Town’s own.
“I thought of the kids. It was a Saturday, kids aren't at school, they could be running around outside and I kept thinking how they could be affected.” Blackwood said. “I was thinking of our community.”
Blackwood and Workman were awarded special patches by Col. Heather Fox, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, for their heroic actions. Despite the honor and gratitude the base has shown them, these defenders believe it was just part of their job.
“I just feel like I did my job, I did what I was supposed to do and in a timely manner,” said Blackwood. “That's what I'm here for. That's why I was posted at the gate, and that's what I did.”