Cannon Air Force Base
By Senior Airman Luke Kitterman, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Published September 28, 2017
“Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the anxiety never really leaves.” Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University’s football team won their third game of the season September 23, 2017, with the Greyhounds beating Angelo State 31-21 and improving their record to 3-1. Accurate passes, long runs and big hits highlighted the rain-soaked match; however, the biggest play of the night didn’t happen during the game. It happened before the first whistle was even blown.
Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing, 16th Special Operations Squadron aerial gunner on the AC-130W Stinger II, embraces his new service dog “Diesel” before the start of the Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhounds football game September 23, 2017, at Al Whitehead Field in Portales, New Mexico. It was through Rebuilding Warriors, a program that provides service dogs with military members who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries as well as amputees, that Farthing was able to receive Diesel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Kitterman/Released)Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing, 16th Special Operations Squadron aerial gunner on the AC-130W Stinger II, received a service dog during a ceremony before the start of the military appreciation game at Al Whitehead Field in Portales, New Mexico. He was joined by family, friends and colleagues to support him in the big moment.
“I was extremely nervous,” Farthing said. “Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the anxiety never really leaves. I was worried more than anything that everything would go smooth. The rain put a damper on things for a while but my family who are a major support system for me helped keep me grounded and calm.”
Farthing stood on the track at the 50-yard line as the announcer spoke of his accomplishments and dedicated service during his time in the Air Force. Then, his service dog, “Diesel,” was brought out to him as the crowd erupted in cheers.
“Receiving Diesel and seeing my Gunship family in the stands, along with my family and commander behind me, was very emotional,” Farthing explained. “Happiness, excitement, humility – all these things were rushing through me. Seeing the support of my squadron members in those stands was unlike anything I can describe.”
Farthing has flown 1,400 combat hours on more than 10 deployments including 270 combat missions, where he faced the threat of manned portable air defense systems and anti-aircraft artillery. Through Rebuilding Warriors, a program that pairs service dogs with military members who have been diagnosed with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries as well as amputees. Farthing was able to receive Diesel.
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