D-M Airmen respond first to desert wreck

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Three D-M Airmen were driving through the desert on their way to a popular hiking spot to enjoy a typical Sunday outdoors. Everything was going according to plan until they spotted a person on the right side of the road frantically trying to get their attention.

As they approached the scene, everything came into focus. A trail of debris led to a disabled work truck that lay upside down blanketed in cactuses.

Airmen 1st Class Jared Dumale, Tyler Ray and Michael Rivera, came to the aid of four individuals involved in an automobile accident Aug. 24.

"We were on our way out toward the boulder fields near Florence, Arizona," said Dumale, HC-130J avionics specialist. "Right before we hit the dirt road, we managed to see a truck that was overturned and a young man was waving us down with a cell phone."

The Airmen stopped at the scene without hesitation and evaluated the situation.

They were all questioning what was happening until they saw one of the victims covered in so many cactus needles, they could not see his face.

The three began removing cactus needles and embedded debris from the skin of each of the victims. They attributed their efforts to the Self-Aid Buddy Care they received in basic military training.

"It's amazing," Dumale said. "You hear all these stories about how people's training kicks in during emergency situations and you never think it's going to be you, and when it finally happens it all becomes textbook."

The Airmen continued to administer first aid even after paramedics arrived.

After the accident scene had been cleared, the three were left with a feeling of satisfaction.

"We helped somebody out," said Rivera, hydraulics systems specialist. "That's all that really matters. We didn't expect such great notice from this. It means a lot, but we still would've helped them even if we got no recognition."

Appropriately enough, the 923rd AMXS falls under the 563rd Rescue Group.

"They're three out of a lot of individuals that have (responded to crises like these) and we're fortunate because we're a rescue squadron," said Tech. Sgt. David Baxter, 923rd AMXS assistant specialist section chief. "Our mindset is always on saving others."

Baxter was pleased when he learned that his Airmen were doing the right thing outside of their normal occupational duties.

"As a supervisor it makes you feel really good that some of those small talks and some of that mentorship that you've given were actually accepted and put into action when the time was right," Baxter said. "With this squadron, this is what we do. This is how we respond to a crisis. We do it with a calm head and a clear vision of what we're supposed to do."