MULBERRY (KFSM)- On July 7, Master Sgt. Brad Reeves was stationed at the Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. At that time, the country was under a rare emergency warning as Typhoon Neoguri slammed the country.
According to Japan Meteorology Agency data, winds reached gusts of 150 mph at the peak of the storm.
“We went into recovery on the 9th of July and on the back side of the typhoon, a thunderstorm actually had developed, and it wasn’t projected to hit us with a lot of rain, but we ended up getting quite a bit,” Master Sgt. Reeves said.
While the flight chief was back at Air Force headquarters, Airmen Brandon Roderick Jones are staying in a guard shack.
“So the two airmen, at about 06:30 radioed in on their handhelds that they had been trapped inside their guard shack,” he said.
Master Sgt. Reeves, eight other security forces and a fire truck of about seven firefighters attempt to respond to the two trapped defenders.
“We all discovered that the roads to the guard shack had been flooded out, so we couldn’t get there by the roads,” Master Sgt. Reeves said. “Myself, I jumped out of my truck and ran for approximately a mile trying to get to them, and two of my staff sergeants were actually on a highway and had to wade through chest high water, trying to get to the guard shack.”
With all the obstacles, the first-responders all arrived to the guard shack in approximately 15 minutes, but many more challenged awaited them. The guard shack was almost submerged in water, except for the roof.
“We only had three axes, and one crowbar and a k-12 saw that broke after about 5 minutes,” Master Sgt. Reeves said.
After 40 minutes, they broke a hole in the roof made of eight to ten inches of reinforced concrete. The water had risen to only a couple inches left of breathable airspace for the two trapped men.
“We pulled the first one out, and after we pulled the second one out he said his nose was touching the ceiling and that was basically all the room he had left,” he said.
Master Sgt. Reeves is now visiting family back home in Mulberry.
We’re tickled to have him home, and have his fiancé here, and there family here, they came from California, and we’re just tickled to have them all here,” Bruce Long, step-dad said.
Master Sgt. Reeves will head back to the Air Force base in Japan on Friday (August 1).