Air Force Special Operator Killed in Accident

Aerial view of the NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California. Credit: NASA
Aerial view of the NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California. Credit: NASA

The Air Force special operation’s community lost a pararescue airman after an accident during a recreational skydiving trip in California on Sunday.

Tech. Sgt. Nathan Schmidt was assigned to the 131st Rescue Squadron at Mofffett Federal Airfield in Sunnyvale, California.

A spokesman for the Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing said that details of the accident are not yet available, but the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

An officer from his squadron described Schmidt as, “always calm, cool and collected during the most chaotic times” to the AF Times.

A Captain who deployed with Schmidt said, “He was your go-to guy if you had something that was complex or difficult – you knew he could do it,” to the AF Times.

He went on to describe a daring rescue of a Marine that Schmidt had made in Afghanistan. According to the story, it was the squadron’s 1,001th rescue. The Marine was trapped at the bottom of a well for about an hour. He had sustained many serious injuries from the fall, including a broken femur.

Jacob, a tech sergeant who was there said, “He was really pretty scared, but Nate went down 70 feet into this dark, dark well and hooked the guy up with pain meds and then gave him a pep talk about: ‘Hey, this is gonna hurt but we’re going to get you to my team up above and I’ll be following you later.’ ”

Due to Schmidt’s quick thinking the pararescue team was able to extract the Marine within in hour.

According Jacob, Schmidt was a great PJ and was on the fast track to making Chief.

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