Robert “Danny” Berg
Robert “Danny” Berg was the lead critical care nurse on the rescue mission of John Solecki, the only American hostage rescued alive from Pakistan since 2000. Berg was born in Hollywood, California, to Charles and Marilee Berg. He grew up in Washington State and studied marine biology at the University of Washington. He found this path unsatisfying and sought a career in nursing. During his first eight years of civilian nursing, he was a volunteer for humanitarian/FEMA disaster teams in Mexico and California, caring for over 3000 patients. While staged with FEMA at March AFB, California, members of the Air Evacuation (AE) crew approached Berg about joining the Air Force Reserves. Commissioned in 1994, and at a height of 6’7″, he required a waiver to join. In the early 1990’s, flight nurse training taught that unstable patients would not be allowed to fly. To Berg, with his extensive civilian experience in successful critical care transport, the idea of leaving our most at risk warriors behind was backwards. Out of flight school he was an AE instructor at the 40th Air Evacuation Squadron (AES), McChord AFB, Washington. Working as a field medic for the Seattle Seahawks opened up Critical Care Air Transport (CCATT) School to Berg, and along with it a transfer to the 446th ASTS. At the start of OIF, his 3-man CCATT team helped initiate and functionally stand-up the CONUS Medical Operations Plan. They also spent 18 months on deployment evacuating the most critically wounded from Iraq in C-141s, KC-135s, and C-17s. Following this, he was asked to help design future CCATT Air Force Instruction. As a global instructor for CCATT, he trained teams in Israel and Tunisia, Army medics at Fort Polk, and was a founding expert of the Navy’s CCATT program. In 2005, Maj Gen Barbara Brannon spoke to the Senate Appropriations Committee and used (then) Maj Danny Berg as a highlight of what the commitment to the wounded warrior should be. In Afghanistan 2009, with teammates Lt Col Eric Johnson and MSgt Ken Bielas, his team made history. UN High Commissar of Refugees in Pakistan, John Solecki, had been kidnapped in February 2009 by members of the Baluchistan Liberation United Front. Berg’s CCATT team was part of the Special Operation’s mission to rescue him. In April 2009, the team boarded an AC-130 and over the next 20 hours brought a very ill Solecki back to Bagram AB for repatriation. Lt Col Berg is currently the CCATT Program Coordinator for Joint-Base Lewis McChord and the CCATT alignment director for FEMA in the Pacific Northwest. He has over 1500 flight hours in six airframes, including the last evacuation mission using the C-9 Nightingale.