DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
Taking the initiative is instilled in Airmen from the moment they enter the Air Force and beyond, but what does it mean? For one Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Airman, taking initiative meant rushing to the aid of a total stranger who had spun off the road and into a ditch.
On January 2, 2023, Airman 1st Class Bryan DiPersi, 436th Healthcare Operations Squadron emergency medical technician and ambulance response team member, was on his way back to Dover, Delaware, when he witnessed the incident unfold in front of him on U.S. Highway 13. A car ahead of him began to swerve erratically, spun out without warning and plowed into a ditch before finally crashing into a guardrail.
“At first I was a little freaked out,” said DiPersi. “But I had to make sure [the driver] was ok.”
DiPersi immediately pulled over, dialed 911 and sprinted over to the crashed car.
Fortunately, DiPersi is one of the newest members of Dover AFB’s ART and knew exactly what to do upon witnessing the incident. Once he arrived at the vehicle, he instantly began applying his medical training to assess the man’s well-being.
DiPersi received Emergency Management Technician training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he spent six months learning the basics of assessing a patient's condition, and managing respiratory, cardiac and trauma emergencies. He continued his training at Dover AFB, which provided him with the ability to operate similar to a paramedic.
“He’s always focused on training, even when we’re having down time,” Staff Sgt. Max Robichaud, 436th HCOS noncommissioned officer in charge of ambulance services, explained while describing his Airman. “DiPersi is very hardworking, motivated and super focused.”
DiPersi knew he was going to join the Air Force, but it wasn’t until his uncle passed away that he decided to pursue a career in the medical field. He graduated basic training in February 2022 and was enthusiastic to begin his new journey.
“When I lost my uncle, I blamed myself for a long time and it was rough,” he said solemnly. “I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to save lives, so I had [medical] as my number one choice.”
His opportunity to save lives and help others came during that drive back to Dover, when he took the initiative to stop and apply his medical training to provide care for a complete stranger at a critical moment.
“Not everyone has what it takes, but DiPersi got out [of his car] and did the right thing,” said Robichaud. “He’s one that gets after it.”