Airmen rescue Korean national

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Often memories of the Fourth of July include parades, barbecues and fireworks. For two Airmen assigned here their memories of Independence Day this year were assisting a total stranger who was in a life-threatening traffic accident.

The Airmen were driving back here from Gwang Yang port after escorting a munitions convey when they drove past an accident on Highway 15 outside the Gwanju, about 45 minutes from the base. A small pickup truck had been hit by an 18-wheeler fuel truck.

Without hesitation Capt. Thomas Filosi and Staff Sgt. Andrew Quinn, both of the 8th Maintenance Squadron, stopped their vehicle and ran to the scene to find a Korean nationalist bleeding from his head and right hand.

"As we drove up on the scene, we could see the driver of the small vehicle had gone through the windshield and looked to be pinned in the vehicle," Captain Filosi said. "When we got up to the individual we administrated first-aid to him using jackets that were in his truck as bandages for the gaping wounds in his forehead and right hand."

The wounds of the victim were not the only hazard the two Airmen were facing. The victim's vehicle was leaking fuel onto the highway and his masonry material to include explosive material was in the leaking fuel.

Sergeant Quinn said they both worked to clear the material away from the vehicle and fuel. He described the explosive material as 10 to 15 22-caliber shells that are used by masons to attach bricks to a foundation along with other flammable material that was thrown across the highway.

"Staff Sergeant Quinn and I cleared the hazardous material and held and comforted the injured man until emergency personnel arrived," the captain said. Emergency workers were on the scene within 10 to 15 minutes of the Airmen's arrival according to Sergeant Quinn.

For Sergeant Quinn this is exactly what he and every Airman are trained to do during self aid and buddy care. He said when someone is hurt there is no discussion of what to do or not to do, it is just done. He said the duo evaluated the victim and knew the bleeding needed to be stopped but at the same time the scene had to be cleared of hazards.

"Adrenaline and training kicked in and we did what we needed to do to help another human being," the sergeant from Inwood, W. Va. said.

The victim was removed by emergency response workers using the Jaws of Life and transported to the local hospital.

Local law enforcement personnel thanked the Airmen for their assistance as they left the scene.

Sergeant Quinn said the first couple minutes in the vehicle were quiet with no words exchanged between the pair until the captain said that events like this "make you really value life and how it can be ruined in an instance."