340th Flying Training Group Airman featured on the ‘The View’

ABC’s “The View” hosts Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines talk with (l-r) Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner, retired Master Sgt. Christian MacKenzie, retired Senior Master Sgt. Randy Kensey and retired Senior Master Sgt. Robert Colanino. The four airmen were reunited on the show May 25, more than a decade since their MH-53 helicopter crashed in Iraq in 2004. (ABC courtesy photo).

ABC’s “The View” hosts Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines talk with (l-r) Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner, retired Master Sgt. Christian MacKenzie, retired Senior Master Sgt. Randy Kensey and retired Senior Master Sgt. Robert Colanino. The four airmen were reunited on the show May 25, more than a decade since their MH-53 helicopter crashed in Iraq in 2004. (ABC courtesy photo).

Former U.S, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld congratulates Lt. Col. Thomas “Brock” Lessner on the set of “The View” on May 25 following his on-air promotion to lieutenant colonel. . He appeared on the show in support of a larger Memorial Day tribute featuring Rumsfeld as the guest host. Lessner shared his story of resilience that helped him and his family overcome many challenges, including a rocket propelled grenade strike on his helicopter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (ABC courtesy photo).

Former U.S, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld congratulates Lt. Col. Thomas “Brock” Lessner on the set of “The View” on May 25 following his on-air promotion to lieutenant colonel. . He appeared on the show in support of a larger Memorial Day tribute featuring Rumsfeld as the guest host. Lessner shared his story of resilience that helped him and his family overcome many challenges, including a rocket propelled grenade strike on his helicopter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (ABC courtesy photo).

Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner’s wife Kathleen pins on his new rank insignia following his on-air promotion on “The View”. Lessner appeared on the show in support of a larger Memorial Day tribute featuring former U.S, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld as the guest host. Lessner shared his story of resilience that helped him and his family overcome many challenges, including a rocket propelled grenade strike on his helicopter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (ABC courtesy photo).

Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner’s wife Kathleen pins on his new rank insignia following his on-air promotion on “The View”. Lessner appeared on the show in support of a larger Memorial Day tribute featuring former U.S, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld as the guest host. Lessner shared his story of resilience that helped him and his family overcome many challenges, including a rocket propelled grenade strike on his helicopter during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (ABC courtesy photo).

Lt. Col. Thomas Lessner, Air Force Reserve Command T-1 Instructor Pilot and 39th Flying Training Squadron assistant director of operations with the 340 Flying Training Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, was a featured guest on ABC's “The View” today. Lessner appeared on the show in support of a larger Memorial Day tribute featuring guest host former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

 

‘The View” complemented the episode with a human-interest story involving the shoot down of Lessner’s Air Force MH-53 helicopter by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq in 2004 and a surprise reunion of the crew that was aboard the helicopter when it was hit.

 

The show’s surprises did not stop with the crew’s reunion. During the segment, the crewmembers were greeted and coined by Rumsfeld.

 

The show culminated with one last surprise for Lessner. Rumsfeld performed Lessner’s promotion to lieutenant colonel as Lessner recited the oath of office on air before a national audience of more than two million. Among the most proud members of that audience were the Citizen Airmen of the 39th FTS and 340th FTG that participated in their wingman’s promotion via live video feed.

 

Lessner attributes his resiliency throughout his career to the unwavering support from his family and fellow airmen.