This Airman’s courage is no act

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Long, worn fingers floated above the ivory keys of the grand piano stretched out before him, his breath held and his eyes closed in focus.

A beautiful melody emerged as he exhaled, his hands effortlessly dancing over the keys. The audience grinned in pleasant surprise, yet it was clear from the music's thrall over him that he played not for them, but for himself.

“I can't read most sheet music,” said Senior Airman Logan Lingren, 92nd Maintenance Squadron aircraft structural maintenance journeyman. “I've always been drawn to self-expression since I was a kid, I learned to play music by listening and experimenting, same with most things I’ve taken an interest to.”

With a creative, yet reserved personality, Logan doesn’t fit the stereotype of the heroic Airman to receive a high military honor for courage, but that is exactly the kind of person he proved to be when he selflessly jumped into a dangerous situation to help save the life of a stranger being attacked by a knife-wielding man at a local fast-food restaurant last year, helping to restrain the attacker until the police arrived.

“I didn’t have to think about what to do, I just saw it happening and I reacted,” Logan said. “I think most people would have done the same as I did, to try and help somebody in need.”

Logan's selfless actions were praised by his leaders, who awarded him the Air Force Commendation medal, as well as his actions finding him a place in Portraits of Courage, an Air Force program highlighting Airmen who go above and beyond by displaying acts of great courage.

“It’s a big deal to step-up and help save a life,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Kane, MXG fabrication flight chief. “Most would just stand back and do nothing, but he instantly took initiative and acted decisively. Fairchild is proud of his actions that day.”

As the middle child of parents who worked for the CIA, an occupation that took the family around the world to follow the needs of the agency, Logan found himself growing up while living in Japan, Africa, Cypress, England and several areas of the United States.

"We moved about every two years until my parents retired; I always hated leaving friends behind as a kid," Logan said. "I'm really glad for that experience now, looking back on it. Most don’t even leave their hometowns, so I'm lucky to have been exposed to various places, cultures and people from all over the world.”

His parents wished to instill some discipline and encouraged joining the military, so while residing in England, they sent Logan and his older brother Austin to high school military academies in the United States.

“They had a bit of a sibling-rivalry as kids, always competing with one another and getting into trouble,” said Dan Lingren, Logan Lingren’s father. “I wanted them to join a military service as I knew it would be good for them, but we love our boys and wanted to support them no matter what they chose to do.”

The brothers bonded upon returning to England from military school. It wasn’t the shared experience that drew them together, but a newfound musical appreciation for the metal music genre they discovered during their two years apart.

“They were still trouble makers, just now a pair of them,” Dan said.

Logan followed his parents footstep’s working for the CIA as a security contractor after high school, allowing him to save up for the creative college courses he desired.

“I wanted an art career, something where I could express myself freely,” Logan said. “I went through four colleges trying to find the career-path I wanted, but I was 24 when I hit an impasse of a lack of focus, financial issues and living at my parent's home. I needed a change.”

At a stand-still and unsure what route to take, he made the tough decision to join the Air Force, testing high for mechanical aptitude that helped secured him a position as an aircraft structural maintainer.

“I decided to join the Air Force to get out of my parents' house and have time to find what I truly wanted to do,” Logan said. “My brother joined a few months after I did. Our parents didn’t end up making us do it and we never planned it, but we just ended up serving together.”

Logan found the transition from a civilian lifestyle to that of an Airman a difficult road full of strict rules and high expectations. Keeping his creative career goal in mind, he found the willpower to push forward and become a reliable part of his maintenance team.

“Lingren does good work, is reliable and can work independently. I know whatever work we assign, he’ll get the job done,” Kane said. “He’s always been approachable, kind and willing to help out his fellow Airman in need. He loves motorcycles and leads a local club. He is a fine addition to our team.”

Years of service helped him to finally figure out the path he sought when he first decided to join, said Logan.

“I really didn’t think my personality was a good fit for the Air Force, but the past five years taught me discipline and assertiveness; it made me realize that I am capable of doing whatever I want to in life,” Logan said. “I first thought of acting when I was seven, but everybody said it was too hard and I dropped it, but the idea has been on my mind ever since. That's got to say something, so becoming an actor is what I've decided to do.”