‘Miracle’ airman returns to base

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A US airman who underwent a ‘miracle’ recovery after being shot by a gunman in Germany has been welcomed home.

RAF Lakenheath airman, Staff Sgt Kristoffer Schneider was shot by Kosovan-Albanian, Arid Uka, at Frankfurt International Airport on March 2.

His return came days before German authorities announced that Uka will stand trial on August 31.

Dr Kai Zacharowski, who was in charge of the care of Staff Sgt Schneider and his colleague, Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla, called the pair ‘the miracle of Frankfurt’ at the time.

Having recovered from wounds sustained during the attack, Staff Sgt Schneider returned home on August 1.

Speaking while in recovery at the Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital, Staff Sgt Schneider said he could not wait to return to England.

He was given a hero’s welcome at the base by streets lined with colleagues and friends.

Staff Sgt Schneider was one of 16 people on board a military bus on their way from the airport to Ramstein USAF base when the shooting took place.

Acting alone, 21-year-old Uka had opened fire after arguing with the airmen in front of the bus.

Staff Sgt Schneider’s wife Amanda and SA Veguilla’s mother Maria Soto had become close friends while the pair were treated in hospital.

Mrs Schneider said at the time: “We are ‘family for life’ because of this shared experience. I don’t think I could have gone through this alone.”

Senior Airman Nicholas Alden, 25, who was also based at Lakenheath, was killed during the attack.

A memorial service to mark the loss of SA Alden was held in March, with 48th Fighter Wing Commander Col John Quintas saying: “The wing family has suffered a tragic loss.”

Airman First Class Zachary Cuddeback, who was based in Germany, was also killed.