Combat Controller Seriously Injured

I'm still Jack Fanning... I'm just in a wheelchair right now with a new mission in life... to be the best husband and father that I can be.
TSgt Jack R. Fanning is a Combat Controller assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope AFB, North Carolina. He is 39 years old and was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on 16 Mar 1971. He graduated from Arlington Heights High School in Apr 1989. Sergeant Fanning enlisted in the Air Force on 2 Apr 1997, as a Missile and Space Facilities Apprentice. During basic training he had a change of heart and on 12 May 1997, signed on to become a Combat Controller. Upon completion of Combat Control School in Mar 1998, Sergeant Fanning was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2002, 2004 and again in 2005. Sergeant Fanning has also deployed to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003. In 2005, he was selected be become a Combat Control apprentice course instructor at the 342d Training Squadron, Pope AFB, North Carolina. In 2009, he was selected and joined the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. Sergeant Fanning began the 9-month Operator Training Course in Jun 2009. During his course-culminating exercise on 11 Jan 2010, he parachuted into a blacked-out drop zone with his classmates and suffered a paralyzing spinal injury.

Gary Whiterspoon, Mike McReynolds,            Red Ghormley, Wayne Norrad, Col. Bob Armfield,             Bill Sink, & Mike McReynolds
John Koren and Nancy are running around somewhere and I also saw Mike Stockdale.  There are no pictures of my photographer, Jill

CCA President's Corner;  TSgt Jack Fanning received a medical retirement after 13  years service. His ceremony at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 21st was awesome. His 24 STS teammates made a freefall jump there earlier that morning. Many of his 24 STS teammates and some of his former teammates/ instructors from Combat Control School were able to attend. And many from the Combat Control Selection Course and 342 TRS staff drove up from Lackland AFB to be there. Jack and Melynn's family members were in full force, as were many of their friends. Even the Combat Control Association "elderly" fraternity was in full force. As we say, "once a Combat Controller, always a Combat Controller — and always a brother" - whether you know each other or not. For example, Gary Witherspoon, John Koren and his friend Nancy, Bill Sink, Red Ghormley, Mike and Jill McReynolds came to Jack's retirement ceremony although they never met him until after his accident. Ralph Humphrey and yours truly were here too, as was honorary CCA Life Member Maj.Gen. (retired) Bob Patterson.

Lt Col "Wolfe" Davidson did Jack justice in his remarks as the retirement official. Jack did a great job explaining what happened on the jump and he put out a powerful message of who he still is. "This is Jack; I'm still Jack Fanning... I'm just in a wheelchair right now with a new mission in life... to be the best husband and father that I can be. If people asked me if I had to do it again, knowing the outcome now, would I still want to be a Combat Controller...? My answer is YES, I'd still do it again." What a "man" and positive thinker Jack really is. It was great to meet Melynn and all of the family at the retirement and BBQ party. They are all planning to come see us during the CCA Reunion in October....................... Wayne Norrad                                                                                                                                                    
taken from The CCA News, Issue 20
Technical Sergeant Jack Fanning

  1997 Basic Military Training
  1997 Combat Diver Qualification Course
  1998 Combat Control Apprentice Course 1998 Military Freefall Parachutist Course 1998 Basic Airborne
  1998 Combat Survival Training Course 2001 Airman Leadership School
  2001 Air Force Training Course
  2002 Static Line Jumpmaster Course
  2003 Survey and Assault Zone Assessment Course
  2004 Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course
2005 Basic Instructor Course
2006 Principles of Instructor Systems Development
2007 Training Supervisors Course
2007 Technical Training Teaching Internship

Bronze Star Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/ Valor
Air Force Commendation Medal (4OLC)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal


Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Award
AF Outstanding Unit Award w/ Valor (2OLC)
Combat Readiness Medal (2OLC)
AF Good Conduct Medal (4OLC)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/1 service star
Iraq Campaign Medal w/ 1 service star
GWOT-E Medal
GWOT-S Medal
AF Expeditionary Service Medal w/ gold border (5OLC)
AF Longevity Service (2OLC)
USAF PME graduate ribbon
Small Arms Expert w/ 1 service star
AF Basic Training ribbon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

MSgt Rob Bartleson passed on the following information to connect to Jack and Melynn and read their daily Journal.

From the Combat Control Association Blog Page
Dear CCA Members,

Combat Controller, TSgt Jack Fanning, was seriously injured upon landing on a night freefall parachute jump in NM on Monday night. Jack was previously stationed at 23 STS, spent time as a Combat Control School Instructor and is presently assigned to Green Team at 24 STS. Jack's injury was initially life threatening, but with immediate medical care, Life Flight evacuation and later surgery, he is still with us... thank God for that! It does appear that his injury may be life altering, so please pray for the best for Jack and his family as he continues to deal with his injuries.

As a side note, Jack is a big supporter of the Combat Control Association (CCA) and was our CCA representative at the CCT School during part of his tour there. He is CCA Life Member 1056. He's also a very good friend and I am very deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Following are messages from 720 STG/CC and 24 STS/DO
Wayne Norrad
President, CCA

I am saddened to report two injuries during a parachute operation in NM two nights ago. One very serious. Details found below. Please keep both members, especially TSgt Fanning and his family in your thoughts and prayers.


The following is a (modified) report from Maj Mason Dula (24 STS/DO) to Col Thompson:

Subject: 24 STS Parachuting Injury

Training operations in New Mexico last (Monday) night resulted in the injury of two of our operators. SSgt Adam Fachan, one of our PJs, has a broken bone in his leg which medical experts assure us will heal fully, and allow him to quickly return to duty.
One of our CCT, TSgt Jack Fanning, was evacuated to an Army Medical Center in El Paso Texas, and remains in serious condition. No one else was injured during the training, and our own STS medical personnel were present at the site of injury to render immediate first aid. The emergency response plan was activated, leveraging Life Flight (rotary wing) lift to the point of injury, and rapidly delivering Fanning (FG) to higher care, accompanied by one of our Physician Assistants--we have unit members at FG's bedside now, as he recovers from a significant surgery performed by top-notch specialists.

Early reports are that the surgery went well--but it is too early to speculate on either the results of the surgery, or the enduring nature of FG's injuries.

His family and he will have a tough road ahead, and can definitely use the career field's love and prayers. For FG's brothers-in-arms across the community, I'd ask for some tactical patience as FG battles these injuries--MSgt Robert Bartleson (919) 478-4097 is our Family Liaison Officer, and is managing the outpouring of concern for FG and his family, and allowing them to focus on the near-term way ahead. All offers of support and condolence should route through MSgt Bartleson for the next several days.

It's been exceptional watching the 24 STS rally around a brother sir--know there are warriors lined up across the community to do the same. Hooyah to all..................Maj Mason Dula
Pictured; Jack and Melynn enjoying a Christmas night, just  a couple of days ago.

MSgt Rob Bartleson passed on the following information to connect to Jack and Melynn and read their daily Journal.  On January 11, 2010 during a training exercise in New Mexico, Jack was injured while performing a night military freefall operation.  Jack sustained a C4 spinal cord injury and was rushed to William Beaumont Army Medical Center by Lifeflight helicopter.

During the flight to the hospital, Jack had to have a chest tube inserted. Jack was paralyzed from the neck down and underwent immediate surgery to stabilize his cervical spine; he also had a breathing tube inserted.  After surgery, Jack immediately regained his C4 nerve distribution. The doctors say it's a miracle Jack survived the injury and the flight, proving that God isn't done with Jack yet.  We humbly welcome your prayers as we prepare to help get Jack back on his feet.

Jack and Melynn Fanning Journal and Guestbook

        To make a donation to Jack and Mel, click Here
From Red Ghormley;

I have visited Jack Fanning for the last three Wednesdays. He has a  great attitude about his situation and is anxious to be released from the Dallas VAMC to go home.

On Wednesday 12 May he had a MRI to determine what's causing the head-aches.

I presented Jack with a DVD of some of the clips on your WEB 
Site...........the Recruiting clip and the STS clips. I also threw in the "Parachute mishaps" that we sent to Frankenburger.......Hopefully to cheer him up.

They know that the pictures and the clips came from you and that I was only a courier.

Met John Koren at the mini-Reunion and he said that he has visited Jack also.

Note; Red, You Are The Man!  You got Jack to pose with the SgtMac'sBar Guy.... Jack, KEEP THE ATTITUDE!
Retirement and a day at the pool.................. Help!