Captain duo helps save father, son

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Two Air Force captains recently helped save the lives of a father and son in Elmore County, Idaho, near Arrowrock Reservoir.

While driving to a popular fishing spot the morning of Oct. 29, 2011 the captains noticed an overturned trailer on the side of the road.

"We got out to investigate and see if anyone needed our help," said Capt. Bryan Harr, flight commander with the 726th, Air Control Squadron.

After getting out of their vehicle, bystanders pointed out the location of the victims, at the bottom of some steep terrain.

"We immediately began to negotiate the terrain until we reached the first victim, the father," said Capt. Derek Vallejos, chief of 726th ACS operations

Once Vallejos and Harr secured the father they preceded to the son who had sustained multiple injuries.

"He looked pretty banged up, so we tried to keep him alert and not let him go into shock," Vallejos said.

The two captains continued to comfort and secure the victims until further medical support arrived.

"We did what we could for him, assessing his breathing and looking for any significant signs of bleeding," said Harr. "We waited with him for more than an hour until help arrived."

Vallejos and Harr did not depart when professional medical help arrived, but rather continued to help in the daunting task of maneuvering the wounded out of the ravine.

"Eventually a National Guard helicopter lifted them out of there," said Harr. "It was a long wait, a long day, and a lot of people were involved in the rescue, but overall it was good to see them get out of there in one piece."

The training the captains have received from the Air Force was an integral part in securing the two victims.

"We knew we had skills provided by the Air Force which could potentially help and we were willing to apply them," said Vallejos. "We couldn't just let these people suffer when we knew we could help."

The heroism displayed by Vallejos and Harr did not go unnoticed among the emergency responders as well.

"The first response by the captains was admirable," said Zack Parline, deputy sheriff of Elmore County, who was on scene. "Their actions may have saved those two lives."

Even after displaying such courage, these two officers remain humble, continuing to uphold what it means to be an American hero.
"We were just two guys in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills," said Vallejos.

The two victims were treated and released by Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.