LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --
When someone speaks about a hero, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a superhuman figure flying through the air. Although that is a typical view of a hero to many, one man’s heroes were two ordinary Airmen who were in the right place at the right time.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Pritchard, 19th Operations Support Squadron officer in charge of intelligence analysis, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Victoria Simon, 19th OSS intelligence analyst were on a temporary duty assignment to Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, taking part in Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019 when they witnessed the accident.
MG19 was Air Mobility Command’s premiere large-scale mobility exercise at Fairchild AFB, which invited mobility Airmen from across the globe to continue the momentum of readiness by keeping their global, competitive edge.
It was Sept. 25, at 11:25 a.m., while Pritchard and Simon were on their way to their shift during MG19, when they noticed a vehicle swerving into the gravel off the side of the road, hitting an embankment, and driving off the side of a 25-foot cliff, crashing into a wall.
“I pulled over and looked at Simon and said ‘let’s get to work,’” Pritchard said. “I immediately ran to the wreckage site while Simon called 911.”
While Pritchard was assessing the scene providing first aid response to the victim, he was also relaying the size, activity, location, unit, identification, time, and equipment report to Simon, who was on the phone passing critical information to paramedics before they arrived on scene.
“When the paramedics arrived, it appeared the information we were passing along was helpful,” Pritchard said. “It was as if they already had the most critical information to start getting this guy out of the vehicle within minutes of arrival and transporting him to the hospital.”
Throughout their Air Force careers, Pritchard and Simon have remained qualified in SABC via hands-on and computer based training while also becoming CPR certified.
“Luckily we didn’t have to perform CPR, but we both recently requalified on it. We performed the proper steps of ensuring the scene is safe and directing someone to call 911 while checking on the victim,” Simon said.
Simon recalled speaking with her family after the accident and coming to the realization of how grateful she was for the CBT’s because she never expected to have to put them to use, but it was the reason she was prepared for this situation.
“When you wear this uniform you are expected to be at the forefront of danger, but also to provide assistance to those in need, no matter the severity,” Pritchard said.