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Airmen save life after PT tester collapses
Staff Sgt. Jessica Riha, Staff Sgt. Marquis Bond, Staff Sgt. Ahkiem Carter and Airman 1st Class Coati Owens were a part of the Fitness Assessment Cell team that saved an Airman's life. The team was never told what caused the airman to stop breathing, but they were told that she made a full recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt)
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Airmen save life after PT tester collapses

Posted 2/28/2013   Updated 2/28/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

2/28/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Fitness Assessment Cell members conducting a physical training test had to quickly react to an Airman who collapsed while running and stopped breathing.

The fitness staff said the test started like numerous others they had conducted. The participants completed the waist measurement, sit-ups and the push-ups. Airmen lined up for the 1.5 mile run, and three laps into the run, trouble arose on the track.

Staff Sgt. Marquis Bond, 375th Force Support Squadron FAC NCOIC, said, "It was a scary situation, but we knew what to do."

Airman 1st Class Coati Owens, 375th FSS FAC, was the first to see the tester fall out. He notified his team, and the four immediately ran to her side with a medical kit.

"Usually when people fall out, they are dehydrated or they got hurt in some way, but this situation was more serious," Owens said.

When they arrived, they found the Airman lying on the ground, disoriented. They checked her vital signs and began taking the necessary steps.

Bond said, "She was responding, but she was mumbling. I asked her to squeeze my fingers. She did for a couple of seconds, then she let go. When I was first talking to her, I noticed that her stomach was moving up and down, so I knew she was breathing, but when she let go of my fingers she wasn't breathing at all."

As soon as he noticed this, he instructed a member of his team to call an ambulance and used the mask that was a part of the medical kit to begin CPR. After about 20 seconds, she started breathing again.

After the situation was under control, Bond and Staff Sgt. Ahkiem Carter stayed with the Airman, while Owens and Staff Sgt. Jessica Riha went back to continue the test for the rest of the participants.

Bond said the team reacted purely on instinct.

"We have to go to CPR training all the time," he said. "To be able to do this without thinking becomes second nature--a habit. We were told that we probably saved that girl's life. We don't think like that. We just saw a Wingman down, and we had to react."

The team was never told what caused the Airman to stop breathing, but they were told that she made a full recovery.

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