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Airmen save life of severely injured Korean citizen

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Alexx Pons)

(U.S. Air Force graphic by Alexx Pons)

JEJU ISLAND, Republic of Korea -- Airmen conduct training routinely to be better prepared when the time comes to apply it; this was indeed the case when Airmen from the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group and 607th Air Operations Center at Osan Air Base rendered life-saving aid to a critically injured Korean citizen here, July 6. 

Master Sgt. Dwayne, Tech. Sgt. Sharita, Tech. Sgt. Norama, and Staff Sgt. Bryan were traveling back to lodging when they encountered multiple hazard lights flashing on a local road in the early hours of that day. 

“I saw an SUV with a guard rail running through it and there was debris on both side of the road,” said Norama. “My first thought was that there might be a family or someone caught inside [the vehicle]. I have a daughter, and that’s why my fatherly instincts kicked in and decided we should see if anyone needed help.” 

The group carefully assessed the situation before immediately rendering aid. According to Sharita, it quickly became clear that someone was in need of medical attention. The group scrambled into action and assessed the victim’s wounds. 

“I tapped him on his shoulder and asked him if he was ok, and he just nodded,” Sharita said. “We saw he was missing his foot and he was bleeding badly; we knew we needed to stop the bleeding.” 

Emergency medical responders were called while those on-site did what they could. 

“Originally, we thought his foot might have been curled up in his pants; we were horrified to see it had been completely sliced off,” Dwayne said. 

Dwayne and Sharita implemented initial steps of Self-Aid Buddy Care while the group waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. Norama and Bryan were able to use their belts and shirts to apply tourniquets to the victim’s leg with the severed foot. 

“I took off my belt and used it as a tourniquet and took off my shirt to provide added pressure,” said Bryan. “With a deployment to Afghanistan and annual training, it was automatic – like second nature. We knew exactly what to do.” 

After the bleeding stopped, the team addressed other areas of concern. 

“We did not second guess what needed to be done,” Dwayne said. “The crazy part about it is that it happened seamlessly. We reacted to what was in front of us and did what we had to do to ensure the injured person was stabilized.” 

The team remained with and monitored the victim for roughly 10 minutes until an ambulance arrived. Even after the ambulance arrived, they explained the situation to the paramedics and helped search for the severed foot. 

“I was amazed by how calm and fast acting we were during this traumatic event,” said Dwayne. “I must admit that when we actually train annually on SABC, you never think you might have to utilize some of these skills. The assistance this team rendered truly shows what it means to be a “Wingman” beyond the call of duty. The local citizens who arrived on the scene prior were in shock and almost seemed paralyzed as to what they should do, and I feel like our quick response played a key role in this victim’s survival – I could not be more proud.”

Editor's note: Content updated since publication.