For one young man, it may have been a
lucky day when he got into a serious car accident just outside of Buckley Air
Force Base, Aurora, Colo., May 9, 2017.
Seven members of the Colorado Air
National Guard 140th Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight conducting
training on the east side of the base witnessed a car accident and immediately
ran to assist.
“We were over the fence within 30
seconds,” U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Rich, chief of resources and EOD
Rich and six other members – U.S. Air Force Senior
Master Sgt. Dick Gibbons, the flight chief, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt.
Dustin Frey, Staff Sgt. Darrell Linkus, Staff Sgt. Brandon Ulmer, Senior Airman
Tom Benedict and Senior Airman Rosen Lima, all EOD operators – jumped the BAFB perimeter
fence and ran to the scene of the accident.
“Everyone just kind of knew their
role,” Benedict said. “We did what we knew we could do best to contribute.”
Benedict immediately called 911 and
brought his battlefield first aid kit to the scene of the accident.
EOD members receive military training
in basic first aid.
Linkus, an emergency medical
technician and firefighter, and Rich, a former police officer who trained as an
emergency first responder, immediately went to help the more seriously injured
“Witnessing the accident, I knew the
person in the vehicle that was struck multiple times was in bad shape,” Rich
said. “He was very pale and not breathing when we got to him.”
Rich, Linkus and Frey worked together
to carefully extract the young man from the vehicle, establish an airway with a
nasal pharyngeal, and provided follow-on care until the Aurora Fire Department
and ambulances arrived a few minutes later.
“While still unconscious, he was
making visible progress as soon as we started working on him,” Rich said.
While the three Airmen tended to the most
injured individual, the others worked to direct traffic away from the scene and
facilitate the arrival of emergency responders.
“It was an interesting dynamic to
watch each member of the team find a way to contribute,” Benedict said. “Nobody
needed to be in charge; we all just found a role and filled it.”
The EOD team members said that they
are used to high stress environments.
“We get really good trauma training
so when the worst happens, our response is automatic: step one; step two; step
three; it’s second nature,” Rich said.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of the
140th Wing EOD team., their quick response
and close proximity to the scene, the patient was alive when civilian medical
service personnel took over.
“The team reacted exactly as I’d
expect and hoped they would,” Gibbons said. “We just hope the patient will pull