Pilot recognizes soldier on plane from harrowing incident 10 years prior

Sometimes life throws us unexpected turns, twists, and surprises. Sometimes, the people we met in the past can have so much impact on our lives in the present. Likewise, the people we would normally have passed by in the present might have saved our lives in the past.

One soldier realized this when he was on a plane to a fundraising training activity with his old platoon. On the plane, he was approached by the pilot who, it turns out, had been one of the people who saved his life years ago.

pilot saved disabled soldier


Corporal Todd Love lost the lower half of his body when he stepped on an IED in 2010. He was with his troop in Afghanistan, a year after he came a Recon Marine. He was assigned to the 1st Recon Battalion. After the incident, he was picked up by a helicopter.

It was a harrowing experience. He was picked up during an intense exchange of fire, but the pilot managed to get them out alive. Todd woke up in Bagram, Afghanistan. He had undergone intense operations and surgeries and although he still needed a lot of rest and time to recuperate, he had survived.

Todd had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but it was thanks to his training, childhood, and support from his family and friends that he was able to carry on living his life, despite what happened to him. When he had stepped on U.S. soil, he didn’t even want to look down at his lower half. He was scared, but slowly, he managed to accept his situation.

airline pilot


In an independent publication, Todd wrote:

“I think my gratitude for everything is what calmed my suffering the most.”

Nine years later, Todd was able to go on many adventures around the country. He turned the incident and his disability into his strengths and advantages. He also said that sharing his story to different people has made things easier. It made him realize that everyone is connected, that he was alive by his willpower…and the determination of the people around him.

He further wrote in a media outlet:

“Its humbling to know that these people are from many walks of life, each practicing their profession, from different nationalities, skin tones, and belief systems as well. All I know is I owe them my life.”

Then, one day, he was flying to Oregon for a fundraising training up a mountain. At a layover in Denver, the pilot of the commercial flight approached him.

pilot saved soldier

Frank Somerville KTVU

Captain Marc Vincequere asked Todd whether he had been deployed to Afghanistan and when. Todd became suspicious, but he answered the pilot’s questions. After that, Captain Vincequere informed the soldier that he was the USAF pilot who got Todd out of that intense fire fight on his helicopter.

Todd was shocked beyond words. He couldn’t believe that one of the people responsible for his continued existence was standing in front of him…as the pilot of the flight he was taking.

The two had a terrific and unbelievable reunion. They took a picture together to commemorate the event, and Todd was even shocked that the story he shared online had become viral.

There are many people we owe our lives or success to and they deserve our acknowledgment and gratitude.

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