No hesitation: saving a life
By Senior Airman Malissa Lott, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 10, 2015
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The difference between those who accomplish great things and those who wait on the sidelines is often the willpower to do what needs to be done.
Staff Sgt. Paul Daggett teaches aircrews the will to survive in enemy territory and the tools to do so. As a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist for the 366th Operations Support Squadron, his training came to be of use on home soil when he encountered an unlikely scenario.
Driving to meet-up with friends for an off-roading event during Memorial Day weekend, Daggett came across a wrecked vehicle on the side of a dirt road.
"There were already ten people standing there trying to help but they weren't able to," said Daggett. "I just saw something needing to be done and did it."
"It was just standard Sergeant Daggett," said Maj. Cole Davenport, 366th Fighter Wing electronic operations officer, weapons and tactics.
Without any available nurses or doctors, Daggett did not hesitate to see how he could assist those who were injured.
"I always keep a first aid kit in the jeep for exactly this scenario," Daggett said.
As he introduced himself to the victim, he told her everything was alright and he was there to help her.
While he did that, his friend, who happened to be from the Owyhee County Sheriff's office, communicated with flight dispatch to pinpoint their location with the help of Daggett's GPS.
Checking her pulse, Daggett assessed the victim's other injuries.
"I don't know exactly what happened but she couldn't walk at all. She had a lot of pain in her hips," Daggett said.
At risk for internal bleeding or ruptured organs, the only thing Daggett could do at that point was make her comfortable.
"Then her left knee was also swelling fast and [was] very bruised" Daggett said. "I took a bandage out of my first aid kit and wrapped up some ice packs around her knee to keep her comfortable until the aircraft arrived."
While sitting with the victim, Daggett noticed the local sheriff arrive and begin securing a landing zone for a medical helicopter.
"They were going to land [on a road] right on top of a hill where there were blind corners," he said.
Daggett recognized the risk. When the search and rescue team arrived, he went over to the landing zone to help the sheriff, directing traffic and keeping the area secure for the helicopter to land. With Daggett's help, the helicopter was able to land and load the victim safely.
"Nobody likes to see somebody hurt, ya know?" Daggett said.
After eight years of rigorous training as a SERE specialist, this all came as second nature to Daggett.
"That's why I was able to stay calm," he said.
The SERE training Daggett received through the years made success possible, while the first-aid training he received as an Air Force airman laid the groundwork.
"If I had never gone through some kind of medical training scenario with a helicopter, never had to identify a [landing zone] before and secure it, I wouldn't have known what to do," Daggett said. "That could be the last training you have before you're required to save somebody's life."