JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
Three minutes is all it took for one Airman to de-escalate an incident on board United Airlines flight 534 from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Los Angeles, California, on August 21, 2017.
Tech. Sgt. Mugabe Cordner, 15th Operations Group evaluator flight engineer, responded and de-escalated a physical fight that began mid-flight.
“I heard a ruckus, stood up, and there were two people fighting,” said Cordner. “I looked over and saw people trying to get out their way, no one was doing anything. When I noticed the fight moving up the isle towards a lady with a baby, that’s when I stepped in.”
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s incident report, Cordner placed himself between two fighting passengers and physically relocated one of the men to another section of the aircraft. After separating the passengers, the flight attendants asked Cordner to stay near the galley for a few minutes, to ensure the security in the cabin.
“As an agency, we rely heavily on our relationships with partners across the country to reduce crimes in the United States and abroad,” said Special Agent Wess Brooker, Los Angeles Field Office, FBI. “The FBI appreciates quick action of Cordner, who acted with a moment’s notice to protect others.”
The individuals involved in the physical fight were charged with and plead guilty to violations of Title 18, US Code 113(a)(5), Simple Assault in the Special Maritime Jurisdiction of the United States.
“I am proud of Cordner’s selfless actions on the United Airlines flight and not surprised by his initiative to calm the dynamic situation,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Theiss, 65th Airlift Squadron commander. “He is a natural leader and high powered NCO that brings direction, intellect, and excellence into everything he undertakes.”
Cordner attributes his willingness to step up to his Green Dot training.
“Sometimes you’ll be in a situation where you have to decide what to do in a moment’s notice,” said Cordner. “Say something, do something, or ask someone for help. We all get Green Dot training and should use that training to be a decent citizen.”
The Air Force introduced Green Dot in 2016 as an interactive training program, designed to help Airmen intervene in and prevent situations of sexual and domestic violence, abuse and stalking.