KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
A sunny afternoon turned tragic when out of nowhere a car sped off a busy road landing nose-down, its velocity flipping it upside down before finally scraping to a halt off the side of the road.
Senior Airman Ja’Mesha Pratt, 18th Operations Support Squadron airfield systems technician, had just finished Weighted Airman Promotion System testing when she witnessed the car fly off the side of the road.
Pratt immediately veered off the side of the road and in seconds was assisting the older Okinawan couple with their struggle to survive.
“When I saw the car flip upside down, I immediately pulled over and ran to assist the two people who were trapped inside it,” said Pratt. “I came along the passenger side and saw a woman who was upside-down, held in place by her seatbelt, while crying and hysterical from her ordeal.”
The woman was upset because along with the terrifying situation she found herself in, her husband who was driving, was not responding to her attempts to wake him up.
“I was able to carefully maneuver her out and away from the vehicle and promised to go back for her husband,” she explained. “Then I ran to the other side and slowly pulled her unconscious husband out.”
However, while removing the wounded man from the wrecked vehicle, Pratt explained he woke up and became frantic as to the whereabouts of his beloved wife.
“I was trying to keep him calm and sitting down, for the sake of his safety as I wasn’t sure the extent of his injuries and needed to properly assess him,” she said. “Once I realized he was looking for his wife, I brought the two of them together and they were both able to calm down.”
A few other bystanders were on the scene by then and called an ambulance, Pratt explained.
“Once a few other people had shown up I noticed the smell of gasoline was getting stronger and stronger,” she continued. “I checked and the vehicle was indeed leaking gas and so we moved the couple to a safer distance in case the car caught fire or possibly exploded.”
That was when Pratt noticed the bleeding cut on the head of the husband.
“I made sure his head stopped bleeding and then realized the wife was clutching her chest and having trouble breathing,” she stated. “I couldn’t find any visible injuries and realized I needed to just keep her as calm as possible. In spite of her severe pain, it was the best course of action until the medical technicians arrived.”
Once first-responders arrived on the scene, Pratt explained what happened and then continued home to finish her day.
“It’s truly amazing how Airman Pratt immediately took action to save the lives of those two locals,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jon Dizonno, 18th OSS airfield systems superintendent. “We are extremely proud of her selfless actions that day which show our commitment to the local communities here.”
Across the globe, Airmen live, work and participate within the local communities of countries they call home.
“Looking back on that day, I really believe our self-aid buddy care training assisted me because I just reacted to the situation as it was unfolding,” said Pratt. “It was just an automatic response or reaction to the potentially deadly situation. As members of the U.S. military here, we are responsible for helping and assisting whenever, wherever we can.”
We are all willing to help if situations like this happen, Pratt continued. It’s a part of our core values, regardless of branch of service. At the end of the day, we are a part of these Okinawan communities.
“This isn’t just where I serve, it’s where I live…it’s my home,” she explained. “These are our neighbors and friends and they need to see how much we value and respect them. I see them when I go to work or take out the trash. We interact at the malls, beaches and especially at the many Okinawan historical sites across the island.
“They are our family and we are proud to be here and live alongside them,” she concluded.