By Master Sgt. Chris A. Durney
189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A ceremony, held Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, commemorated the life and heroism of Arkansas Guardsman Master Sgt. Daniel Wassom. His wife Suzanne, father Dan Sr. and mother Pam accepted the Airman’s Medal and participated in the dedication of a street in Dan’s name.
The Airman’s Medal is awarded to Air Force members who distinguished themselves by a heroic act, usually at the voluntary risk of their own life outside of combat. Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clark III, Arkansas ANG director and the top ranking Air National Guard member at the Pentagon, presided over the event and conveyed the Airman’s Medal to the family.
“I represent 105,000 Airmen across 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia,” said Clark. “It is an honor and privilege to present this medal, on behalf of the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard to the Wassom family.”
To further honor the life and legacy of Master Sgt. Wassom, a portion of the main road that runs through the 189th Airlift Wing campus has been renamed and dedicated as “Master Sgt. Dan Wassom Road.”
“Dan was willing to step up when the time called for action,” said Col. Robert Ator II, 189th AW commander. “We are humbled by his character and will be reminded of him daily when we come to work and make that turn on Master Sgt. Dan Wassom Road.”
Wassom, a 189th AW loadmaster instructor, lost his life while shielding his daughter during the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Vilonia. in April. During his time in the Arkansas Air National Guard, he served as an instructor loadmaster, deploying in 2010 in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In addition to the Airman’s Medal, the Wassom Family were also presented two other medals which Dan earned during his service in the 189th. Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, adjutant general of Arkansas, presented the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medal and Ator presented the Meritorious Service Medal to Wassom’s family.
“Master Sgt. Wassom died as he lived: In service to others,” said Ator.