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Air Force Heroes Reunited On “The View” In Memorial Day Surprise (VIDEO)

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The View Air Force Heroes

By Shari Weiss |

The View Air Force Heroes

(ABC)

Air Force heroes who survived a devastating attack in Iraq were reunited on “The View” on Thursday. Check out the moving video below.

In honor of Memorial Day, the ABC talk show wanted to remind viewers that “every service member on the front lines risk their life for your freedom.” Thomas Lessner was invited to share the story of the night he and his team almost died. In 2004, while stationed in Baghdad, he and a group of airmen set out to retrieve a body of a fallen soldier, so it could be returned to the Unites States.

While piloting the plane, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade that directly hit their aircraft. All aboard were injured, and the helicopter was left with a gaping hole. Regaining consciousness, service member Christian Mack McKenzie recalled thinking, “My god, I survived. And I still have to die.” Incredibly, though, the airmen managed to land the aircraft safely, and McKenzie and Lessner were taken to another helicopter to be rushed to the hospital.

Due to changing assignments, however, they all have not seen each other since that fateful night. Lessner was brought out to the stage first, telling the co-hosts, “They’re my heroes because without those guys, without their teamwork, I wouldn’t be here.” He was then told that several of those men were here to reunite with him. After they all came out to a standing ovation, Lesnner commented, “It’s kind of a chapter that’s closing. It’ll never be closed. But it feels great.”

Reflecting on how the accident has shaped his life, McKenzie said, “I get to get up. I get to hug my kids. I get to hug my wife… It’s been an inspiration every day.” Donald Rumsfeld, whom they all served under, later came out to thank the airmen for their service, though they thanked him as well. The former Secretary of Defense presented each with a “challenge coin,” which is given to those who have “done something extraordinary.”

And with Lessner’s squadron in Texas watching via Skype, Rumsfeld announced he was being promoted from major to lieutenant colonel. With tears in his eyes, he took the oath right then and there with Rumsfeld presiding. Watch the videos below!

 


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