“First There …That Others May Live.”
The Motto of the Air Force Special Tactics Squadron (STS) who were on scene to fulfill that oath by rescuing 2 civilians earlier this year.
On May 15th, 2022 Members of the Oregon National Guard unit 125th (STS) were traveling down 1-84 towards Gowen Field, Idaho when they witnessed a terrible motor vehicle collision when a motorcycle with two passengers was struck from behind.
Both riders slid to a stop, still alive but with serious trauma.
Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Studenny told Steven Conklin, 142nd Wing:
“I look over and I see it happen, and I tell the driver to pull over. I was running across the highway on the phone calling the others to grab their gear, and I looked back and they were already out of their vehicles running across the median.”
Returning from a training exercise which included a course on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, the elite unit happened to be transporting all the gear they needed.
125th STS Commander Maj. Alex Nell said:
“These guys were in flip-flops sprinting across the median, ready to flag down traffic and create a roadblock to protect their teammates and the patients. We had guys that blocked and directed traffic while their teammates simultaneously moved to triage and treat what ended up being two patients. We had four to five pararescuemen and combat controllers working on each patient.”
The team immediately deployed and worked together to control the scene of the emergency and quickly to establish IV and interosseous (IO) ports, which are often used on patients where gaining IV access isn’t possible because of extremity damage.
“If I was ever in a situation with that bad of trauma, those are the guys I want working on me,” said Studenny. “Our guys went straight to work; it’s like second nature. You have over a combined century’s worth of combat experience with the medics that we had on the ground.”
Highly trained to keep our most elite warriors alive in the worst circumstances, Airmen of the 125th STS were uniquely capable in caring for the motorists.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, and the ICU confirmed it, one of the patients would have died on scene had it not been for [the 125th STS Airmen], and the other patient could have easily died from shock,” said Nell. “The week prior, we happened to have just completed our TCCC refresher and hands-on cadaver training, including everything from controlling arterial bleeding to establishing airways via cricothyrotomy.”
Major Nell, rightly proud of his boys, went on to say,
“I think in Special Tactics, we just expect this of our operators and of ourselves. When you take a step back and put their actions into context, this isn’t a deployed theater with combat operations, this is in the middle of Idaho … and if it hadn’t been for the actions of our guys, one person would be dead, potentially two. I couldn’t be more proud of everything they did.”