U.S. Soldiers Use CLS Skills to Aid Crash Victims
U.S. Soldiers raced to the aid of several injured Djiboutians following a vehicle rollover accident here June 24th.
Members of Charlie and Bravo Combat Search and Rescue platoons, 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Regiment, were in a five-vehicle convoy returning from a day of weapons training at a firing range. Not long after their convoy reached the highway, the Soldiers witnessed a dump truck veer off the paved road and then overturn.
There were roughly 60 Soldiers at the scene as the accident occurred.
"Everyone reacted very quickly and there was no hesitation," said Sgt. 1st Class James Gallup, Charlie CSAR platoon leader. "The Soldiers took charge of the scene and provided medical aid to the injured. There were other Soldiers who helped direct traffic, preventing further accidents and still others who kept the onlookers from crowding the site."
"I was very impressed with the rapid response and the teamwork from everyone involved," Gallup went on to say.
Witnesses said there were five people in the dirt-filled truck, three in the cab and two in the bed. One of the men in the back of the truck was thrown clear of the vehicle but the other became trapped under the mound of soil he had been standing on.
"Immediately, our guys were working to dig the man out," said Staff Sgt. Jason Liptak, Charlie platoonns squad leader. "I saw the truck roll and thought there was no way anyone in the back survived. But our Soldiers worked quickly and had him freed almost immediately."
Spc. Brandon Melrose, a combat medic with Bravo battery, ran to the scene looking to help the most critically injured victims. He immediately set to work stabilizing the man who had become trapped under the dirt and debris while his fellow soldiers assessed the injuries of the others.
While there were three Army medics on the scene, they were not the only ones to provide assistance. All members of the 2-18 FAR received some form of combat lifesaving training and several were able to put those skills to use.
After rendering first aid, several of the U.S. Soldiers rushed the most severally injured man to a nearby French Foreign Legion Post where he was then transported to a local hospital by ambulance.
"Weere in an area with no 9-1-1 or emergency call system," said Sgt. Richard Hardy, joint CSAR security team leader. "With no medevacs and no means of contacting help, we knew we had to be the ones to get him some assistance."
The remaining crash victims suffered injuries ranging from minor cuts to bruises and abrasions.
"Today, months and months of training and rehearsals paid off in a huge way. You can train for any type of emergency situation you want, but the true measure of a Solider is shown when Soldiers can act without hesitation or prompting and do their jobs," said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Taylor, Bravo CSAR platoon leader. "I am very proud of my Soldiers and how they reacted to a bad situation, potentially saving a manns life."
Hardy said his CLS helped him immensely during the emergency. And he stressed the need for all Soldiers to be proficient in their first aid techniques and familiar with the equipment in their CLS packs.
The Soldiers from 2-18 FAR are deployed to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa from Ft. Sill, Okla. They are expected to serve 15 months in the eastern African region providing CSAR support and force protection for the more than 2,000 U.S. military forces assigned to the region.