Airey NCO Academy students admire the photos and other memorabilia Class 12-7 decorated their classroom with in honor of Master Sgt. William Geiger, Jr., a vehicle operator recognized for extraordinary action in the line of duty during a deployment to Iraq. Each class renames a flight classroom in honor of a deserving Airman. This is the school's tenth renaming. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kirsten Wicker)
Photos and other memorabilia line the walls of a classroom at the Airey NCO Academy. Class 12-7 decorated and renamed their classroom in honor of Master Sgt. William Geiger, Jr., a vehicle operator recognized for extraordinary action in the line of duty during a deployment to Iraq. Each class renames a flight classroom in honor of a deserving Airman. This is the school's tenth renaming. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kirsten Wicker)
by Staff Sgt. Kirsten Wicker
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/23/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Airey NCO Academy Class 12-7 recently renamed one of the 13 flight classrooms housed at the school after Master Sgt. (Retired) William Geiger Jr., a vehicle operator from the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
This is the tenth consecutive flight the school has renamed in an effort to re-dedicate a room in honor of someone who has performed extraordinary actions in the line of duty.
Sergeant Geiger was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his efforts on a convoy mission in northern Iraq in 2007, his second Bronze Star in Iraq. He served three consecutive tours there and retired from the Air Force in November 2009.
"I deployed with Sergeant Geiger and went on 122 missions with him," said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Kaminski, 78th LRS vehicle operator dispatcher and student at Airey NCO Academy. "I wasn't on that particular mission with him that night, but I did operate the radio as he called in during the ordeal."
Sergeant Geiger had departed for Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad, with a supply convoy of tractor trailers and gun trucks. The trip was supposed to take less than three hours. They arrived at the joint Army/Air Force base 13.5 hours later, with many of the trucks riddled with bullets, hundreds of rounds of ammunition expended and Sergeant Geiger's face black with smoke. The convoy was attacked seven times that night, which was a record at that time.
Sergeant Geiger used his 9mm handgun, while leaning out the window of the truck, to shoot an insurgent he had spotted with a rocket-propelled grenade, or RPG, launcher. He and others chased the wounded insurgent under a bridge where they engaged in a battle with several insurgents in a Suburban sport utility vehicle loaded with AK-47 bullets and RPG launchers. Sergeant Geiger and his allies killed four insurgents and took two others prisoner.
Sergeant Geiger's own truck survived a direct hit from a roadside bomb. That harrowing night was one of a dozen attacks Sergeant Geiger endured during his three tours. He never lost a man or even had an injury serious enough to require a medical evacuation.
"The actions and impact that Sergeant Geiger showed during that night in Iraq warrants recognition here at Tyndall," said a member of the Academy's Special Activities Council, the council who chooses Airmen for flight classroom renamings. "Honoring Airmen like him, who uphold the highest level of our core values during times of impending death, will likely inspire our future NCOs to maintain the Air Force core values during every day life."
The Academy will continue to ask each class that comes through the course to dedicate a flight to a deserving Airman.
(78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs contributed to this report.)