On March 2, 2011, Staff Sergeant Trevor Brewer and 14 other security forces Airmen were preparing to depart Frankfurt International Airport on a bus bound for Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to begin their deployment to Afghanistan. As the Airmen were loading the bus, a lone civilian gunman suddenly approached.
After the gunman shot and killed one of Sergeant Brewer’s teammates outside, the gunman boarded the bus, killed the bus driver at point-blank range, and then turned his weapon on Sergeant Brewer and his remaining teammates. As the gunman fired four more rounds wounding two other Airmen, Sergeant Brewer managed to capture the gunman’s attention, distracting him from carrying out his actions against his next intended target. The gunman then pointed the pistol toward Sergeant Brewer, and pulled the trigger. Miraculously, the weapon malfunctioned—twice. Instinctively, Sergeant Brewer took the offensive and charged the enemy without regard for his own safety, running the shooter off the bus.
Unarmed, Sergeant Brewer chased the shooter for more than 300 meters through the crowded airport terminal. At the top of an escalator, the shooter drew a large knife and turned toward Sergeant Brewer. Undaunted by the danger, Sergeant Brewer moved closer to the knife-wielding assailant, confronting him and preventing his escape so that he could be arrested by armed German police. Sergeant Brewer then returned to the bus to assist with triage of the wounded Airmen and securing of the crime scene.
For his extraordinary courage and decisive actions, Sergeant Brewer was awarded the Airman’s Medal by the Air Force Chief of Staff, received the Colonel Billy Jack Carter Award, and was honored with the Federal Republic of Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit. The President of the United States also honored Sergeant Brewer for his heroic actions.