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RESCUING AN AMERICAN HERO
BY JIM LANGAN • ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 12/7/16
It isn’t often one is called upon to come to the aid of a bona fide American hero, but Hyde Park resident and Air Force pilot Jesi Algier did just that recently. Algier is originally from the Lake George area before marrying her husband Frank and moving to Poughkeepsie. She and her husband have since moved to Hyde Park. Her husband, Frank, is employed by Vanguard, a Wappinger based roofing contractor.
Jesi Algier comes by flying naturally as her father has been a long-time pilot for American Airlines so flying is in the 30-something Algier’s genes. She is currently serving in the Air National guard and is stationed in New Zealand. Algier is no stranger to far away places, having served in Iceland prior to New Zealand. But her exemplary military service took a dramatic and highly publicized turn when Algier and her crew were called upon recently to come to the aid of a true American icon, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.
Aldrin, now 86, along with Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon in July 1969. Aldrin retired from NASA in 1971 but has remained an active and vocal proponent of further space exploration. Aldrin and his son Andrew were part of a trip organized by a tour company to visit Antarctica. Aldrin was interested in experiencing the harsh climate as it is said to approximate that of Mars, a planet Aldrin considers the next logical step in space exploration.
According to Aldrin, as the group headed further south he began experiencing shortness of breath and doctors detected lower levels of oxygen in his blood. At the time the Aldrin party was at 9,300-feet altitude and it was determined that Aldrin was suffering from at least altitude sickness.
It was at that point that the decision was made to evacuate Aldrin, and Jesi Algier and her unit got the call. Aldrin was put aboard a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane that took him to McCardo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast, and from there was flown to Christchurch, New Zealand arriving at 4:30 a.m. on Friday. According to Aldrin’s manager, Christina Korp, the evacuation was “grueling” and Aldrin is said to be resting comfortably before attempting the long flight to his home in southern Florida.
Family and friends of Algier told Hudson Valley News that Algier remains on duty in New Zealand and would likely be embarrassed by any talk of heroism or attention. A relative said she hoped Algier would be home for the Christmas holidays. And thanks to Algier’s courage and aeronautical skills so will a beloved American icon.