From the Frontlines: Staff Sgt. David Hernandez

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
A Whiteman vehicle mechanic is scheduled to receive a purple heart following his return from deployment to the Horn of Panjwaii, Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. David Hernandez, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle mechanic, returned to this Air Force Global Strike Command base as a wounded warrior from his fifth deployment.

He left Whiteman March 5, when his youngest of five children was two-weeks old, and returned Aug. 19, three days after getting injured.

He said his job as a mechanic was basically the same as it is at Whiteman, except for being at a bare base with different vehicles and in a high ops-tempo.

"The Army Soldiers I worked with went on a convoy into town and I decided to go with them," Hernandez said. "At about seven in the morning our left flank took fire and we met with our main element going into town. Before I could make it to them I got shot through the wrist."

That day changed Hernandez's life forever.

"I can't move my wrist or hold my baby when she gets cranky," he said. "It takes me forever to do everyday things and I haven't been able to turn a wrench since that day, which is extremely frustrating."

On top of his own frustrations, he said his wife was hoping to get help from him with their five children when he returned and now he can't do much to aid.

Fortunately, the Air Force is doing everything they can to ensure he gets proper care by sending him to Texas every six weeks to see his doctor. He said he also receives occupational therapy here three times a week.

Even after everything Hernandez has experienced, he doesn't think of himself as a hero.

"As long as military members go, I think the only heroes are the ones who don't come back," he said. "I don't think a hero refers to only military though. Everybody is a hero at some point or another; I think anyone who does anything to improve the lives of others is a hero in their own right."