(October 31, 2017) Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, helped an airman from Puerto Rico serving in Montana learn of his family’s fate following Hurricane Maria. According to Defense One, Goldfein visited an intercontinental-ballistic missile site near Great Falls recently when he met Senior Airman Malcom Soto-Gonzalez, a member of an active-component security-forces squadron.
When Goldfein asked Soto-Gonzalez how his family had made out, the airman said, “I don’t know.” He had not had been able to contact them since the night before the hurricane devastated the island Sept. 20.
Goldfein promised to remedy that situation. The next morning, he told the defense-related website, “You think about this young airman out there guarding the nation’s nuclear enterprise and pulling 12-hour shifts in a Montana winter wondering if his family is OK in Puerto Rico. On the one hand, it’s an incredible testament to the dedication of this next greatest generation serving. On the other, it’s a re-emphasizing the responsibilities of leaders to take care of those great airmen. He needs to know if his family is OK and we’re working on that right now.”
Later that night, Soto-Gonzalez received a call from a friend in the Puerto Rico National Guard who told him he had been ordered to get to the airman’s house and connect him with his family. They were fine, he found out, but, like most of the people on the island, had no electricity.
“I am more than grateful for what [Goldfein] did,” Soto-Gonzalez said, “and I will never forget it.”