Oswald to assist with disaster relief for Philippines
By Correne Martin
Nineteen-year-old Nicholas Oswald, of Wauzeka, who has been home for two weeks from the Air Force, will be leaving for Japan tomorrow (Dec. 19) to provide support for “Operation Damayan,” a U.S. humanitarian aid and disaster relief effort in the Philippines. He will fly from Seattle to the U.S. Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan, to resume his job as a C-130H loadmaster. His duties will include configuring aircraft for various types of heavy cargo to be delivered to the typhoon-stricken Philippines.
In a brief interview while home on leave, Oswald said he is eager to help deliver aid to those in need. He is also interested to see more of the world, which is something he’s appreciated about his time in the military thus far.
“Seeing the world outside our small town is nice,” he said. “I like learning about my job. It makes me feel independent, and I can make some money and travel at the same time.”
“He started talking about the Air Force as a junior in high school,” Nicholas’ mom, Kathy, said. “He took the test and scored decent in some areas. He wasn’t even home from taking the test yet and they were calling me with offers for him. So his senior year, he attended meetings twice a month just to hold a spot and keep up to date with what he needed to know.”
Oswald started his journey toward becoming an airman in September of 2012, when he left the little town of Wauzeka for Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. There, he underwent basic training and graduated in November. Then, he took his loadmaster class to learn about the fundamentals of an air crew. After that, he went to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Wash., for SERE School, which instructs airmen on survival, evasion, resistance and escape techniques. He graduated from there in early April, 2013, and shortly thereafter, spent a week in Florida in water survival training. Not long after, he traveled to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, where he engaged in further loadmaster training until his graduation just before Thanksgiving, this year.
On Dec. 5, Oswald was able to come home on leave for a short stint before heading off to Japan to help with disaster relief. During his stay with his parents, Doug and Kathy (and siblings, Justin, 21, and Allison, 13), he took in a monster truck show, hung out with friends, did some shopping and enjoyed his mom’s home cooking. His family and friends also celebrated at an open house in his honor.
Oswald has enlisted in the Air Force for two years, with the option to extend it to three years. He is a 2012 graduate from Wauzeka-Steuben High School.