Quick response of heroic Airmen prevents tragic outcome

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Justin Todd
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

While deployed to the 332 Air Expeditionary Wing, three Airmen from the 4th and 21st Civil Engineer Squadron saved the life of a coworker who severed an artery while updating the water and fuels system. 

Two of his wingmen - U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew Lefebvre, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance apprentice, and Senior Airman Hunter Anderson, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance journeyman – responded quickly and effectively.  

Airman Anderson told me to call someone. When I realized that we didn’t have phone service, my first instinct was to take off my belt and use it as an improvised tourniquet to stop the bleeding.
Airman 1st Class Andrew Lefebvre

Lefebvre used his belt as a tourniquet while Anderson applied direct pressure to reduce bleeding. They both enlisted bystanders to call 911. 

While this was happening, Senior Airman Leslie Ruto, 4th Civil Engineer Squadron water and fuel systems maintenance journeyman, arrived and jumped into action. He retrieved a tourniquet that was given to him the day before by his first sergeant.  

“It came in handy,” Ruto said about the tourniquet. “We were instructed to have it on us all the time.” 

He applied it to slow the bleeding enough for the fire department to respond.

I took off my OCP top and folded it to help support his head. I reassured him that all would be well since a group of U.S. Army soldiers arrived with two first aid kits in backpacks and applied an extra tourniquet while packing the wound.
Senior Airman Leslie Ruto

They transported the wounded Airman to a medical clinic, where they were able to prepare him for surgery.

Our medical team believe that without the actions of these three heroes, this could have turned out much worse for our Airman.
U.S. Air Force Col. Lucas Teel, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander

U.S. Air Force Col. Todd Walker, 332nd Expeditionary Air Base Group commander, left, coins the three Airmen for their heroism.

“A blood transfusion and loss of his foot could have easily been the outcome if he went any longer without the tourniquets,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Leahy, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing first sergeant. “These three Airmen absolutely saved his life.”