KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
A defining trait of any tragedy is that you never know when it will take place or the kind of repercussions it may have. It’s thus a responsibility of all military personnel to be trained to handle crises whenever and wherever they occur.
Thanks to the quick reactions of two 18th Munitions Squadron Airmen and U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Nelson Ellwood, a sub team chief with the 3rd Intelligence Battalion, the life of a Marine Corps 1st Lt. was saved after they sustained a wound resulting in a femoral bleed.
“In the moment, I was just doing what I was trained to do; but knowing I saved someone’s life feels really good,” said Airman 1st Class Martin Sebastian, a munitions systems technician with the 18th MUNS. “When I arrived on the scene I was hesitant at first to take action, I looked around and saw that everyone else had kind of frozen just like me, but I knew something had to be done, so I started following Staff Sergeant Ellwood’s instructions; I adjusted the belt to where it needed to be and cranked it as tight as I could. Then someone called for a socket extension so I could ensure the tourniquet was as tight as possible. It’s a lot different in real life than in training. It feels like you could be hurting them, even if you know you’re doing the right thing.”
According to Airman 1st Class Andres Ordaz, after the incident occurred, he noticed the lieutenant was losing blood and helped to keep him calm during the first aid response of Sebastian.
“I started talking to him, making sure to keep him awake,” said Ordaz. “I made sure to stay calm and reassured him and just kept talking,”
Ordaz thinks if it had happened in the local community he would have taken more action, applied the tourniquet himself and be the one to take charge when others didn’t.
Airmen receive training in the form of self-aid and buddy care as part of their basic military training in anticipation of events such as these, wherever they may occur.
“I would have done the exact thing had it happened anywhere else, on or off base, especially after this incident, I wouldn’t hesitate to lend a hand and make sure that person is ok,” said Sebastian. “This experience has really prepared me for anything in the future; so if I see something where someone gets hurt, whether they’re Japanese or American, a kid or an adult, I would be willing to help on the spot.”
Ellwood also sustained injuries to his leg due to the accident, despite his being in pain, he helped to ensure proper treatment was supplied by Sebastian and Ordaz, ultimately making sure that the lieutenant was able to receive proper medical treatment after his safe transport to the hospital.
“I took action because I didn’t want to see someone die,” Sebastian said.