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News > Andrews defenders save two lives before combat tour to Iraq
Andrews defenders save two lives before combat tour to Iraq

Posted 6/7/2010   Updated 6/7/2010 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Avonne D. Rosario
10th Security Forces Squadron

6/7/2010 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Four 316th Security Forces Squadron Airmen saved the lives of a mother and child after securing the scene of a vehicle accident on a highway near the Nevada installation where they were conducting pre-deployment training prior to their deployment to Iraq.

On any given day, approximately 250 security forces members from around the world travel along U.S. Highway 95 in the southern Nevada desert daily between Creech Air Force Base and Al Zubyr Forward Operating Base -- a replica of an actual desert deployed environment located on the Nevada Test and Training Range 15 miles south of the base. These defenders are participating in an intense two-week expeditionary pre-deployment training course taught by the 99th Ground Combat Training Squadron and honing their combat skills in a scenario-based environment just weeks prior to deploying to the Middle East.

On May 28, one of these routine trips turned into a real world life and death scenario for three GCTS students from the 316 SFS and 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla. The Airmen were first on the scene of a major vehicle rollover accident with a woman and child trapped inside a vehicle 12 miles south of Creech AFB.

"The sedan was completely totaled and we knew we had to move fast," said Staff Sgt. Leonard Antonio, from the 316 SFS who, along with fellow squadron members Airman 1st Class Gregory Cline and Airman 1st Class Joshua Meyers, came upon the scene immediately following the accident. "Debris covered the road, blood was spattered everywhere and vehicles were zooming by at fast rates of speed. The head of the driver was wedged in the back rear floorboard and a 9-year old boy in the back seat was frantic."

The three Airmen grabbed what little medical supplies they had on hand and initiated actions to make the scene safe and secure. They directed traffic, cleaned minor wounds from the child and began calming the victims. Two other defenders, Staff Sgt. Cindy Lancaster, also from the 316 SFS, and Senior Airman Brian Hannon from the 6 SFS, were towing a vehicle when they received a call from the Airmen on scene. They rushed to assist and, upon arrival, observed the driver's hand to be severely lacerated.

A Security Forces-certified emergency medical technician, Airman Hannon determined the driver was conscious wanted to ensure she did not go into shock and bleed to death. Once rescue crews and paramedics arrived, Airman Hannon assisted with cutting out the door of the vehicle. He then entered into the vehicle and provided the trapped driver with oxygen, wrapped her hand with gauze and applied a tourniquet to her upper arm. He also helped paramedics extract the victim and prepared the landing sight for a Life Flight helicopter to land.

By coincidence, the students had just completed GCTS training on tactical combat casualty care, prepping helicopter landing zones and getting out of an overturned military vehicle through a high tech simulator. They saved two lives in a matter of minutes and continued on with their mission- not even getting the identification of the two victims.

"A defender's job doesn't stop at 4:30 p.m.," Airman Hannon concluded. "Our job is not just to protect our military personnel, but to protect human life at all costs - period. That is just what we do. "

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