Air Force Thunderbirds honor Utah cop who rescued boy who fell into frozen pond

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds honored a Washington County Sheriff’s sergeant for saving the life of a young boy.

Last Christmas, Sgt. Aaron Thompson jumped into an icy pond near New Harmony in southern Utah to save an 8-year-old boy who was trapped in the frigid water.

“I was just doing my job,” said Thompson, who doesn’t believe he is a hero. “I was the right guy, at the right place, at the right time.”

For risking his own life to save another, the Thunderbirds treated Thompson to a 45 minute flight aboard an F-16 fighter jet.

“He pulled back on that lever and it just took off like a rocket,” Thompson described.

The flight reached an altitude of 60,000 feet and speeds of more than 500 miles per hour.

“It was amazing,” Thompson said. “The thrust that thing has, it was just absolutely incredible.”

The pilot, Major Branden Felker, completed several tricks, like loops, twists and low-altitude flying.

“We did it all,” Major Felker said.

After the flight, the Thunderbirds presented Thompson with their “Hometown Hero” award.

“We have lots and lots of heroes in our world and our communities,” Felker said. “He’s one example of that.”

The Air Force Thunderbirds will perform at the Warriors over the Wasatch Air Show Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24. Admission to the event and parking are both free, but Hill Air Force Base recommends people take public transit to avoid traffic delays.