Ever-ready

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho- -- From the beginning of basic training all the way to the last days of one's Air Force career, self-aid and buddy care are drilled into the brain. Even if it begins to fade, no worries, there's mandatory training - and plenty of it - to ensure it's not easily forgotten.

Staff Sgt. David Jensen, ground radar technician with the 266th Range Squadron, realized why the training is so necessary, and how the smallest bit of education can make a difference in life-or-death situations.

Early one August morning, Jensen and a few fellow airmen came across the scene of an accident. While driving down Highway 51, they saw a vehicle lying off the side of the road in the brush.

"We [were] just slowly passing by, just kind of checking it out and saw there was still a guy in the vehicle so we pulled over," Jensen said.

Jensen and his fellow airmen jumped into action, gathering as much information as possible from the others who had already pulled over. Jensen grabbed his first-aid kit and headed straight to the victim.

After being instructed by an emergency dispatcher to leave the victim alone, Jensen and Staff Sgt. John Goodsell, also a 266th RANS ground radar tech, decided treatment couldn't wait.

"[Jensen] was all 'forget this, he's bleeding, he's moving around - he's fine,' that's when we started to administer real first aid," Goodsell recalled.

Although there were witnesses on the scene before them, little care had been given to the victim.

"One of the guys that was already there, wrapped a tear of blanket around the guy's head but he was still bleeding pretty heavily," Jensen said.

Jensen continued to check for injuries aside from his head wound, finding a deep cut on the man's left arm.

"[There was] a lot of blood everywhere so I was just trying to see where it was all coming from," he said.

While Jensen inspected the victim's left side, Goodsell went around to the passenger side of the car to inspect his right side for further injuries and to look for possible additional victims.

"While I was over there I looked to see if there was anybody thrown out of the car - but there wasn't anybody there - it was just the one guy," Goodsell said.

After confirming the driver was the only victim, Goodsell went back around to help Jensen with the first aid.

"He said he asked me to help him with the first aid but I still don't remember that, I just remember busting crap open for him," Goodsell recollected.

Despite the accident being messy, the airmen were able to determine the victim was free of a neck injury as he faded in and out of consciousness, allowing them to render critical first aid.

Jensen asked Goodsell to hand him the necessary equipment from the first-aid kit and was able to begin wrapping the victims head in gauze and applying direct pressure to the source of the bleeding.

"I was wrapping [it] pretty heavily, just trying to slow down, if not stop the bleeding - it was like four feet of gauze," Jensen said.

Goodsell said his military self-aid and buddy care training definitely played a role in his decision to act on the situation at hand.

"This was my first real accident; [I] always wondered how I [was] going to react in this sort of situation," he said. "Some people freeze up."

As for Jensen, this is like his 87th time, joked Goodsell.

"I've been to a couple of wrecks and I guess I've always felt a moral obligation to at least stop and see if there's some sort of care [I] can provide," Jensen said. "Whether it be first aid or simply talking to a person, providing comfort - I feel like there's always something you can do."

Goodsell named two reasons why SABC should be taken seriously. First, a person never knows when they're going to need it, and secondly not everyone knows how to do it, making it that much more important for those who do.

"People on the scene tried to help, but it didn't work because there was zero direct pressure," Jensen said. "If you can't keep a bandage tight you put your hand on it, you know, and that's what they did not know or did not do."

As for the training that many think is overkill, Jensen thinks it's up to the individual as to what they take from it.

"It's just going to have to be a decision within a person to just know, 'okay, I really don't know when I'm going to need to use these skills,' whether it be on somebody else or even yourself," Jensen said.

Goodsell explained the absolute basics can save someone's life and one never knows when they will need it.

Emergency medical technicians later stated the airmen's heroic actions played a critical role in saving the victim's life.  With their help, medical personnel were able to quickly remove the victim from the vehicle, identify and treat the wounds and airlift the victim to a hospital for further care.

Both men deny being heroes, saying they just did what was necessary.

"We saw what needed to done and then got it done," Goodsell said.

Although Jensen sees the actions of him and his fellow airmen as ordinary, he has been recommended to receive the Idaho Cross, a medal presented by the governor for saving lives. Jensen is one of many unsung heroes belonging to the 266th RANS.

"He's a hero," Goodsell said.