Air Force civilian selected for 2017 USAF Portraits in Courage

  • Published
  • By AFCEC Public Affairs

Gregory Gangnuss, an environmental engineer and program chief for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, is one of 49 Airmen to be memorialized in the 10th edition of the Air Force Chief of Staff’s, “Portraits in Courage.”

The annual book highlights stories of courage, resiliency, professionalism and perseverance under the toughest conditions.

Gangnuss’ portrait will memorialize the life-saving actions he took in October 2015 to rescue coalition forces from the wreckage of a helicopter crash in Kabul, Afghanistan. The British Puma MK2 helicopter carrying nine crashed after striking a cable as it descended to land. Gangnuss crawled through smoke and fuel-filled wreckage to reach survivors. He worked within the crushed passenger compartment rendering first aid and extricating victims until all the injured crash victims were safely outside and the bodies of the deceased passengers were recovered. Gangnuss’ actions helped save the lives of four coalition personnel.

Gangnuss’ character epitomizes Air Force core values, said Randy Brown, AFCEC Director.

“Greg was on a voluntary deployment as an environmental advisor — he had no obligation to put his life on the line that day,” he said. “He could have stayed a safe distance away and waited for help to arrive, but that’s not Greg’s nature. He ran into danger putting the needs of others first.”

Gangnuss and the other Airmen selected will be honored August 4 at the Heritage to Horizon concert hosted by the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff at the Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about Gangnuss and the events and aftermath of October 11, 2015, follow the links below or contact AFCEC Public Affairs at1-866-725-7617 or email

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Portraits in Courage_Gregory Gangnuss