An Air Force Sergeant from Skiatook has been named the Air Force Times "Airman of the Year."
The Air Force Times says Staff Sgt. Clifford Crawford is a pararescueman from the 31st Rescue Squadron at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
The Air Force Times says Crawford was in the middle of training exercises in the Philippines when the first 7.8-magnitude quake struck near Nepal’s Ghorka district on April 25, 2015. It says he was one of five airmen who immediately volunteered to go help.
They flew throughout Nepal, looking for signs of people who needed help, Crawford said in a May 4 interview. He was the only pararescueman on board his Osprey, so when they landed, he would go into each village and either examine the wounded who had already been taken to a collection point, or help dig wounded Nepalese out of the rubble.
Crawford helped get the wounded back to the aircraft and transport them to a mini-hospital in Kathmandu for further treatment. Crawford said he flew seven or eight trips to save people that first day and night in Nepal.
“I had patients all the way from very, very young, almost newborn, to extremely elderly,” Crawford said.
Crawford and his fellow airmen were in Nepal for three weeks in all. During that time, he helped save the lives of 44 Nepalese.
For Crawford — who was an emergency medical technician in high school in Skiatook — that was exactly the reason he decided to join the Air Force.
Sgt. Clifford Crawford was honored this month at a Capitol Hill gala with members of Congress and other VIPs.
Crawford recently completed a deployment to Afghanistan, where he helped recover an F-16 pilot who crashed during a takeoff near Bagram Airfield in March. That pilot was uninjured, Crawford said.
BartlesvilleRadio.com says Crawford is the godson of Osage County Undersheriff, Lou Ann Brown.