Felines found on flightline

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing

A 167th Airlift Wing crew chief, noticed a small black object under a fuel truck as he was supervising an aircraft refueling at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base, June 19.

Upon closer inspection, Tech. Sgt. Darryl LeMaster and the fuels specialists he was working with, Airman 1st Class Zachary Langhorne and Staff Sgt. Phillip Wingerd, realized it was a kitten.

They searched around the truck and found three other kittens inside a hose reel on the truck.

“It’s unbelievable where they were in the truck,” LeMaster said. “There’s only a small space between the hose and the drum that covers the reel. It was a struggle to get them out.”

LeMaster estimated the kittens were only a few days old and were most likely born on the truck.

The Airmen put the kittens, three black ones and a gray one, in a bucket they lined with absorbent towels and finished refueling the aircraft.

Langhorne and Wingerd took the kittens back to their shop, hopeful they could reunite the kittens with their mother.

But, when LeMaster told his wife Penny, who also works on base as a human resource specialist and personnelist, about the kittens, she rushed to the fuels shop to see them. She decided she would take and care for them.

“I had been wanting a kitten,” she said.

The LeMaster’s are no strangers to caring for animals. They have horses, chickens, goats, dogs and now two kittens.

The other two kittens found homes with Staff Sgt. Alexa Maroukian and Col. Rodney Neely.

All the kittens are being bottle-fed, and burped, every few hours.

“It’s a lot like caring for a newborn baby right now, but they are so much fun,” Penny said.