by Airman 1st Class Zachary Kee
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/14/2012 – MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A Misawa Air Base bus was hit from behind by a Japanese national south of Sendai when returning from Tokyo, June 7.
Lucky for the driver who hit the bus; his heroes were soon to emerge from three vehicles, including the bus he impacted.
A group of eight servicemembers, all from the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, jumped into action to save the Japanese man and remove the damaged vehicles to get traffic moving again.
Senior Airman Carlos Cassano and Airman 1st Class Nathan Wright, both 35 LRS vehicle operators, were the first ones at the driver’s car. Wright stopped the car after it crashed into a guardrail. Cassano opened up the dented driver-side door to pull the injured driver out of his heavily damaged car.
“The driver walked away from the site, and did not know he was injured,” said Cassano. It was then the Airmen realized the vehicle was on fire and Staff Sgt. Donald Jackson, 35 LRS Training Section supervisor, ran to grab a fire extinguisher from his bus to extinguish the fire.
“It was fast,” said Staff Sgt. Justin James, 35 LRS Training Section supervisor. “By the time we got hit and I got off the bus to go help, he had already put out the fire.”
It was later discovered that the driver had a cut on his left leg. James and Jackson quickly provided medical attention while another Airman ensured the driver was alert.
As Airmen, we are required to learn self-aid buddy care, said Jackson. We receive critical life-saving training and other training to be prepared for situations like these.
“The training we receive is more in depth with saving lives,” said Jackson. “It made it quicker and easier to handle the situation.”
Within five minutes, everything from the fire being extinguished to attending to the injured driver was resolved.
Everyone also contributed to picking up pieces of debris that came off of the vehicles and getting it off the road. Then the cars were moved and traffic was directed to ensure the rest of the cars could continue to their destinations.
Although the servicemembers’ return to Misawa was postponed for a short time, all of them have returned safely.
A special recognition goes out to all of the 35 LRS Airmen involved in the efforts: Staff Sgts. Justin James and Donald Jackson, training section supervisors, Senior Airmen Sarah Vrachalus, inbound cargo, Carlos Cassano and Jonathan Hosey, vehicle operators, Airmen 1st Class Nathan Wright and Philip Anastase, vehicle operators, and Jeffrey Catton, outbound cargo.
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