20th LRS Airmen's bond beats cancer

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Diana M. Cossaboom
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Throughout the years the 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen have nourished a bond with each other that is so unshakeable and strong cancer can't even beat it.

Staff Sgt. Scott Murdock, 20th LRS Vehicle Operations Control Center supervisor, speaks softly as he recounts the trepidation he has dealt with for the last year and a half to defeat cancer.

"I was diagnosed with Soft Tissue Sarcoma," said Murdock. "It was an aggressive form that was caught just in time."

According to the American Cancer Society, Soft Tissue Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops from soft tissues of fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues that can be found in any area of the body.

Murdock's symptoms began while he was deployed to Afghanistan two months into his six-month tour.

"I started having really bad pains that kept me up through the night," said Murdock. He began taking sleeping and pain medication to help dull the pain but didn't make a fuss since other military members were dealing with much worse, he said.

Once Murdock arrived back in the United States the symptoms began to worsen.

"I wasn't sleeping at night and whatever I tried didn't work when it came to the pain," exclaimed Murdock. "After that I finally broke down and went to the base clinic. If it wasn't for God and my primary care manager there is no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be here."

There was one thing Murdock could count on during his time of need, and that was his 20th LRS family.

"Initially I knew he was dealing with some things, then he called me and it was a tough moment," said Tech Sgt. Clyde Rankins, 20th LRS quality assurance evaluator and Murdock's friend of seven years. "He came up to meet me at my shop and we cried, but everybody pulled together and we made it through."

Murdock said the hardest part of the diagnosis was not knowing whether he was going to be there to see his kids grow up and that there was nothing he could do about it.

"I tried to keep it from my kids," said Murdock. "I didn't want them to know. There was just a whole lot of uncertainty."

Just two weeks after he was diagnosed, Murdock, father of two and husband of 11 years, went to Charleston, South Carolina, for surgery to remove the cancer and undergo treatments of chemotherapy.

"I thought negatively at first and then I took a step back and talked to my friends," said Murdock. "At that point it gave me hope, talking to them, and just realizing I'm not the only person out there that's going through this. I chose to not quit and to fight. After that I was at peace with whatever way it went."

To help support their brother in arms, the 20th LRS Airmen gathered together and shaved their heads as solidarity as Murdock soon went bald from treatment.

"It was one of those things that while it was happening it sends chills up your spine," said Rankins. "We were not doing it for a fad, we did it because it hit home to our family. It hit our brother."

The gesture of support by shaving their heads ran rampant on social media and more quickly took up the movement to show he had the support of his 20th LRS brothers and sisters around the world.

"It hit social media and (vehicle operations) operators around the world that Murdock has touched along his career rode with the movement as well," said Rankins. "He's definitely an individual that has touched a lot of people and it showed with everyone who supported him by shaving their heads."

Murdock, the Airman who continuously puts others needs before his, was speechless when it came to describing his fellow brothers and sisters support.

"As I was getting treatment I was in a really low point," said Murdock. "But I started getting pictures of bald heads. They will never understand the impact that had on me."

He is a selfless individual who loves our career field and the Airmen who work with him, said Rankins.

After battling for a year and a half, Murdock is finally cancer free and is not only back working in the Air Force, but was also selected to sew on technical sergeant stripes.

"He is definitely an amazing young man," said Rankins. "I am super proud of him and we are glad to have him back."

The bond of brothers, sisters, and family is what motivated Murdock to fight and continue fighting so he can be there for them when they need him.

"I am thankful I am not in pain anymore," said Murdock. "I'm not scared it'll come back. There is a chance, but if it does come back I know at least I've beat it before."