Recovering cancer patient still in Air Force, gets benefits
What ever happened to former Hawaii resident Courtney Linde, who was battling the Air Force for her medical benefits and whose husband died in a terrorist bombing in the Gaza Strip while doing private security work to raise money for her cancer surgery?
Answer: Linde, 24, has re-enlisted for another four years in the Air Force and is working in the contracts office at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio.
Her father, Skip Brown, who lives on Maui, said Linde has been cancer-free for about three years but will be going into the hospital on Aug. 9 to replace her prosthesis.
A few years ago, a titanium rod was surgically put into her right leg to replace her femur and knee.
"She continues to be a soldier, going through all of this," Brown said.
Brown said the family plans to be with Linde when she enters the hospital for the surgery.
"Hopefully, she'll be able to visit us on Maui prior to the end of the year."
Air Force officials, claiming Linde had cancer before she enlisted, had planned to discharge her on Oct. 28, 2003, and were refusing to give her medical benefits.
Her family said Linde, who had undergone physical examinations by the Air Force before becoming an airman, did not have cancer prior to her enlistment.
Her impending medical situation prompted her husband, John Linde Jr., a former U.S. Marine sergeant, to work high-paying but dangerous duty as a private security officer for DynCorp in the Middle East.
John Linde and two other DynCorp security officers were killed Oct. 15, 2003, in a terrorist bombing of their vehicle while escorting a U.S. diplomat through Gaza in Israel to interview Palestinian applicants for Fulbright scholarships.
His death brought attention to her plight, and the Air Force rescinded its plan to discharge her after U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie asked for an inquiry.
This update was written by Gary T. Kubota.
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