Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force

This is a discussion on Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force Humble chief gains national attention 11/10/2006 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFPN) -- All of the attention embarrasses him, ...

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Thread: Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force

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    Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force



    Sgt John Gebhardt Air Force

    Humble chief gains national attention
    11/10/2006 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFPN) -- All of the attention embarrasses him, but as this chief master sergeant learned recently, a lifetime of caring and good deeds is bound to catch up with you eventually.

    Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, superintendent of the 22nd Wing Medical Group here, recently gained worldwide attention for a photo of him holding an injured Iraqi child. The photo was taken about a month ago, while he was deployed to Balad Air Base in Iraq.

    The young infant had received extensive gunshot injuries to her head when insurgents attacked her family killing both of her parents and many of her siblings. The chief had a knack for comforting her and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair.

    Now, he is back at home in Wichita, Kan., with his wife, Mindy. They have a warm, hospitable home five minutes away from McConnell Air Force Base. His son Ryan, 25, and daughter Amber, 23, have long since outgrown being cradled and he said he thought about them constantly while he held the Iraqi child.

    "I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did," he said. "I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been."

    His affection for children is no secret to his wife, Mindy. While dating John in high school, she watched how he bonded with the child of a coach of one of his athletic teams. That softer side of him is one of the reasons she married him.

    "People see him as this tough guy," she said, "but I always see that other side of him that is full of compassion."

    The chief, who grew up in Jordan, New York, is not at home in the spotlight. When asked to talk about himself, he always tries to switch the focus to the other military people who served with him at Balad.

    While deployed to Iraq, the chief tried to help out any way he could. He figured holding a baby that needed comforting that would free up one more set of arms that could be providing care to more critical patients.

    "If I have an opportunity to help out, I look for that opportunity," he said. "They had more than enough to do."

    The chief was not alone in volunteering at the hospital. There were more than 800 different volunteers at the hospital during the time he was deployed to Iraq, he said. Some of them volunteered so much that he mistakenly thought they were assigned to the hospital.

    When Mindy describes the best qualities of her husband, the first word out of her mouth is integrity. She said the photo of her husband and the Iraqi child truly represents him. She believes he has been so successful because he is such a straight-shooter and puts others' welfare ahead of his own.

    "He never leads anyone astray," she said. "He will never do something for himself that would have a negative effect on someone else. He always tells it like it is."

    But, the chief attributes his success to his family.

    "Without their support I don't know where I would be," he said. "I definitely wouldn't be in the position I am."

    And it is the chief's hope that families in Iraq will receive the same kind of support in the future. They are just like American families, Chief Gebhardt said.

    "I pray for the best for the Iraqi children," he said. "I can't tell the difference between their kids and our kids. The Iraqi parents have the same care and compassion for their children as any American."

    Life is calmer for Chief Gebhardt now that he is back home, and even though his recent "fame" has highlighted an eventful 27-year career, he said he wouldn't change a thing.

    "If I had to do it over again, I would sign up and give it another ride," he said.
    God Bless them all
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    Soldiering is not all bullets and smoke - I reckon this guy is typical of more than we realize. Good folks invariably have that compassion beneath.

    Glad he is home and safe and maybe can look forward to a life of peace once more. I well remember the pic. Bottom line - we have some mighty fine folks in our fighting forces.
    Chris - P95
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    I wouldn't call him "Sgt"...not if you don't want an a#s-chewing!

    He's a Chief, equivilent to a Sergeant Major in the Army/USMC...not sure about the Navy...
    "Naked and Starving as They are We Cannot Enough Admire the Incomparable Patience and Fidelity of the Soldiery" – George Washington, Valley Forge, 1777.

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    He's an E9, Chief Master Sgt, the senior enlisted airman for his command.......equivilent to the Navy's Command Master Chief and the USMC's Sgt. Major. There are nine total ranks for all the enlisted military personnel.

    He is a shining example of the senior leadership of our guys over there. I'm very happy to see one of these pictures and stories come outta there. Like P95 stated, I believe he is typical of most of our people.
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    An American to be proud of

    and an example to the rest of us

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    Senior Member Array ronwill's Avatar
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    Proper address would be "Chief". Most will quickly "correct" you if you call them anything else. This photo has been making the rounds for several months now, first coming out in a "what they don't show you in the news" report. Many good things are done that are not reported.

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    All of our service men and women are looking for reminders of home. Holding a child in your arms can get your mind of being in war and everything else around you.

    I applaud him for taking the time to hold and comfort that baby, but like he said it was comforting him too.

    Our military has a tough job and I fully respect every last one of them for signing their name on the dotted line. Gods Speed to all of them and they are always in my prayers.
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    Humility in the face of adversity...heroics in the very maw of The Beast. Incredible.
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