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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (March 23, 2009)
Contact: Bob Lowry, (251) 471-7262

Hospitalized Air Force Officer, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran Re-enlists at USA Medical Center

Air Force Officer
USA Regional Burn Center personnel, from left, Rigg Curtis, clinical nurse specialist; Dr. Arnold Luterman, Surgeon and Director; Dr. Karen Frye, Surgeon; Nerkissa Curtis, R.N., and Angela Duffy, nurse manager. U.S. Air Force personnel from Hurlburt Field are Staff Sgt. David Fairchild, his daughter, Alesha, his wife, Jolene, Maj. Keith Williams, Master Sgt. George Anderson, and Chief Master Sgt. Dan Dixon.
MOBILE – Staff Sgt. David Fairchild survived his first tour of duty in Iraq, but almost didn't survive a backyard campfire at his home in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. The result was a trip to the Regional Burn Center at USA Medical Center, which proved to be an appropriate location for him to re-enlist with the U.S. Air Force.
Fairchild, a 14-year Air Force veteran, was home on leave recently when a campfire and a gasoline container proved a dangerous mixture. "The fire got pretty big, and it ignited the fumes from a gasoline container nearby," Fairchild said. "Before I knew it, there was an explosion." Fairchild was rushed to the Regional Burn Center at USA Medical Center for treatment of burns to his right arm, right side of his face and torso.
Fortunately for Fairchild, the Regional Burn Center at USA Medical Center was fully capable of treating his injuries. He is making a complete recovery and was scheduled to be discharged March 23.
"The military has provided opportunities for me that I wouldn't have had otherwise," Fairchild said in explaining his decision to re-enlist. "And if not for the doctors and staff here at USA Medical Center and what they accomplished with my injured arm, I wouldn't have the opportunity to continue to serve my country."
So, with gratitude to the Air Force and USA Medical Center, Fairchild asked that his re-enlistment oath be administered at the Medical Center.
"We sincerely appreciate the opportunity of caring for our military, and through our care letting them know we truly appreciate what they do for us," Dr. Arnold Luterman, director of the Regional Burn Center, said. "I just want our military people to get the recognition and respect they deserve and somehow convey to them the gratitude we have for their devotion in protecting this country."
"We are very grateful for the job done here at USA Medical Center," Maj. Keith Williams, Fairchild's commanding officer, said. "This is a true testimony to the partnership between the military and the community."
Fairchild, whose tour in Iraq involved driving convoys in and out of Baghdad, anticipates a return to Iraq or perhaps a tour in Afghanistan. "I'm sure I'll go back," Fairchild said.
The University of South Alabama Regional Burn Center provides specialized care to burn patients in south Alabama, northwest Florida, southern Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Located at the USA Medical Center, it is the only facility in the region to provide complete burn care, from injury to recovery. With an average of 450 adult patients annually, it is one of the busiest burn centers in the country.
For more information about the USA Burn Center, please visit and click on USA Regional Burn Center.
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University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Date last changed: March 25, 2009 12:30 PM