The amplified noise level was also distracting with all the air rushing out though the APU.
"Imagine driving 300 mph in a car and having a window open with wind whipping around," said Ransom. "That's what Tony was working in."
Despite the adverse conditions, Trenga successfully closed the door and the aircraft flew on to perform its role in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"By resolving the problem and continuing with the flight, Tony and the crew saved several more combat missions that day," Crutchfield said. "Every KC-135 mission in the AOR is tied to saving lives on the ground -- either directly or indirectly -- so Sergeant Trenga made some very critical decisions on the fly."
Although his service in Southwest Asia has certainly been a highlight in his military career, Trenga has many other memories of deployments.
The 53-year-old airman has served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Allied Force, and a host of other Air Force missions around the world. He's flown on five different stratotanker airframes, including the KC-135 models A, Q, E, R and T. But his initial entry into the service wasn't in operations.
"My goal all along was to fly," he said. "But they rejected that notion in basic training because of my eyesight, and I spent the next four years loading bombs."
Fortunately, Trenga was able to crosstrain into the flying world as a boom operator, where he's remained ever since.
"I'm passionate about my job," he said. "It's a blast, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hands down, it's the best enlisted job in the Air Force."