U.S. Air Force | Lt. Col. Kim Ponders, Air Force Reserve Public AffairsPhoto: When Air Force Reserve Col. Keith Knudson, left, commander of the 419th Fighter Wing, was diagnosed with kidney failure last year, his active duty counterpart, Col. Scott Long, commander of the 388th FW, volunteered to donate a kidney of his own. As part of their duties at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Long and Knudson have worked closely on how best to capitalize on their shared equipment and facilities. Now they may soon be sharing a kidney. (U.S. Air Force photo/Todd Cromar)
9/11/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- While total force integration has spawned many resource-sharing initiatives, two wing commanders at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, have taken it to a whole new, and very personal, level.
When Air Force Reserve Col. Keith Knudson, 419th Fighter Wing commander, was diagnosed with kidney failure last year, his active duty counterpart, Col. Scott Long, 388th FW commander, volunteered to donate a kidney of his own.
"He is truly an amazing person," Knudson said of Long.
In early 2011, Knudson went in for his annual flight physical and wound up spending five days in the hospital where he was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, or Berger's disease, which occurs when too many antibodies build up in the kidneys. Worse, the Berger's disease had led to end-stage kidney failure. Knudson learned that he would need either dialysis or a transplant. He was put on the donor recipient list and adopted a low-salt, low-potassium diet to stabilize his kidneys while the search for a donor commenced. Several family members were tested but none met the necessary criteria.