PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Staff Sgt. Davy Brinkmann, 301st Rescue Squadron Special Missions Aviator, has been selected as one of only sixteen Reserve Citizen Airmen to be honored at the Pentagon through the Air Force Reserve’s competitive “Profiles in Leadership” display. The display celebrates and honors Reserve Airmen and civilians for their contributions in serving the nation.
As a firefighter paramedic and special missions aviator, Brinkmann embodies the mission of combat rescue – “These Things We Do That Others May Live.” As a Reserve Citizen Airman, Brinkmann serves his country with the 301st Rescue Squadron, while also serving his community with the Rockledge, Florida, fire station. “If I didn’t have the support of my wife, Kenya, I wouldn’t be able to do both of these demanding jobs, which require abundant hours of training.”
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, his training and team would be tested with the rescue of 235 citizens. Hovering 180 feet above the flood-ravaged streets of Houston, Texas, combating low visibility, rain, wind and threading through power lines, Brinkmann and his team worked long hours hoisting people and pets to safety aboard the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. One save that stood out was a family of four whose home was filled with waist-deep water. “The grandfather, a double amputee on dialysis, was in a powered wheelchair in the living room with his adult daughter, her husband and infant,” he recalled.
The team brought the husband to the Pave Hawk first so that he could assist with the remaining family members. “As we hoisted the mother and baby, a gust of wind forced the helicopter and hoist to briefly sway; hooking them under the roof,” he said. Brinkmann reacted instantly, rapidly lowering the hoist and avoiding the worst. The team safely loaded the mother and child before sending the basket down once more to bring the grandfather to safety. “It’s humbling to have the honor to be there for somebody at their greatest time of need and is the reason I do what I do.”
The Air Force Reserve plans to replace the portraits every year with leaders who contribute to the Air Force Reserve legacy. The display is intended as a lasting testament to the proud tradition of excellence and service by America’s Reserve Citizen Airmen and is the fourth iteration.