TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The U.S. Air Force airman who was injured when he and two childhood friends tackled a heavily armed gunman on a Paris-bound train returned to his native California Thursday night.
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone arrived at about 8:30 p.m. at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, near Sacramento.
Stone stepped off the plane from Ramstein Air Base in Germany to cheers from about 200 people who had gathered to greet him, many waving small American flags. He waved at the crowd and hugged family and friends on the tarmac before quickly walking into the terminal. He did not speak to reporters.
Stone wore camouflage fatigues and had a bandaged hand, but moved quickly and energetically through the crowd and showed no other signs of ill health.
Leslie Andrus, whose husband works at Travis Air Force Base, was among those who gathered to welcome Stone home.
"He put his life on the line and took this guy down and saved many lives, I'm pretty sure of," Andrus said. "Not too many people would do that."
Master Sgt. Tanya Hubbard, Stone's former supervisor at Travis Air Force Base who was also there to greet him, said "We're just very proud of him. And it's not really a surprise to any of us what he did. He's got a lot of integrity. He's just an all-around great guy."
Military officials planned to take Stone immediately to the base hospital for evaluations, Lt. Col. Robert Couse-Baker said.
Stone has been undergoing medical treatment in Germany since he, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and Sacramento college student Anthony Sadler, all childhood friends from the Sacramento area, subdued the gunman on a passenger train speeding through Belgium on Aug. 21. Skarlatos and Sadler have already returned to the U.S.
Chuck Roberts, a spokesman for the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where Stone was treated for a lacerated thumb and other injuries, said Friday that the airman was "still progressing well." Roberts said Stone's treatment was expected to continue in the U.S.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said earlier Thursday that with all three heroes back in Sacramento, the city will honor their bravery with a parade down the Capitol Mall on Sept. 11.