Heroism isn't a myth; it's making the right decision

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- When you think of a hero, is a cape and mask all you see? Or is it those small acts of selflessness and courage shown everyday that are more likely to change the world.

One Airman from the 366th Component Maintenance Squadron shows that it's the caring for those around you that can make all the difference.

"I was outside a bar in downtown Boise when I saw a man force two girls into a cab," said Senior Airman Robert Walston, 366th CMS aircraft electrical environmental journeyman. "I wasn't sure if they needed assistance or not, but that's why I had to step in, I had to make sure they were safe."

When Walston approached, he learned that the two women didn't, in fact, know the man who was forcibly trying to get them into the vehicle.

"Once they told me they didn't know him, I immediately turned to the guy and asked him what he was doing," said Walston. "At first he was really aggressive, but when he realized I wasn't going anywhere, he left."

Following the man's retreat, Walston continued to assist the two women by helping them find a safe way home.

"Once he left, I offered one of the women my phone to call a ride but she couldn't focus enough on the phone to dial the numbers," said Walston. "In the end, I dialed the number for her and waited until their ride picked them up."

Situations like this happen every day and are one of the reasons the Air Force holds Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training biannually.

"Walston's actions are a true testament to service on and off duty," said Master Sgt. Charles Hooks, 366th CMS electrical environmental section chief. "As outlined in the training we received, the situation in which Walston interceded was a clear-cut case of a predator in action. He potentially prevented a sexual assault that night; the future impact of that is immeasurable."

It was at the SAPR training that Walston shared his experience, not knowing how his actions would impact not only those involved that night, but also the lives of all who heard.

"Walston displayed a vast amount of moral courage in a difficult situation," said Col. Dave Iverson, 366th Fighter Wing commander. "By stepping in, his proactive measures and leadership set a model example for all of us to live by."

From the whole experience, Walston learned one very important lesson.

"All it took was five seconds of my time to walk over and make sure they were ok, seconds for me to realize that it was a bad situation and to intervene," said Walston. "If that's all it takes, even if you see something that you're not sure about, what's giving up five seconds to help somebody?"