Survive and Thrive: Air Force Wounded Warrior program helps Airmen transition

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
Thirteen years ago, Master Sgt. Rodney Young's plane went down.

On a refueling mission for helicopters in Afghanistan, Feb. 13, 2002, Young and seven crew members crashed on the C-130 they were flying in. All eight on board survived.

Young suffered back and knee injuries resulting in several different procedures to repair the damage. He had two knee surgeries which required him to be on crutches for 10 weeks.

Despite the injuries, Young stayed in the Air Force.

"This was the only life I knew," he said. "After the crash, the reason I stayed was that I wasn't better at anything else."

Now Young has retired from military life after 21 years of service. He's using the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program to help with the transition.

"They're a resource in my toolbox. I use them primarily as a sounding board to see if I'm on the timeline I should be on," he said.

The JSTARS Communication Technician has been at Robins for two years. His service has taken him around the globe. He plans to become a field service engineer.

"I'm not quitting cold turkey," Young said. "This job is like a halfway house for retirees."

Young will deploy in his new position, something he is familiar with from his service in the Air Force. His plan is to make enough money to pay off his house and save enough for his daughters' college tuition.

He and his wife, Kim, have two girls, Maya, age 9, and Jayda, age 6. The family plans to move to South Carolina in the future to settle down.