Salutes & Awards

February 14, 2013

55th RQS honors Desert Lightning sailors who aided Airman

(Photo by NOSC TUCSON Public Affairs)
Senior Master Sgt. Kirk Sather poses with his personal protective gear worn at the time of his motorcycle accident with the Navy Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Senior Chief Steve Kennedy.

Lt. Col. Robert Remey, 55th Rescue Squadron commander, congratulated four sailors from the Desert Lightning Team who assisted an Airman following his motorcycle accident Dec. 12.

Senior Master Sgt. Kirk Sather, 55th RQS, was riding his motorcycle toward D-M’s Wilmot Gate when a civilian driver travelling at excessive speed rear-ended his bike.

When the accident occurred right outside the Navy center at Building 7000, the Desert Lightning sailors sprang into action and took control at the scene until the Tucson Fire Department evacuated Sergeant Sather to the Emergency Room.

Information Technician Second Class Timothy Chartier witnessed the accident and immediately contacted emergency services. Hospital Corpsman First Class Jaime Kalaw and Hospital Corpsmen Second Class Joanna Dunn and Jonathan Kwong provided first aid to Sergeant Sather and stabilized him until TFD could arrive. The remaining Sailors from the Navy center cleared traffic and diverted incoming vehicles to make way for the ambulance.

A citation from Col. Jason Hanover, 563rd Rescue Group commander, states: “Your Team’s diligent teamwork in an emergency situation reflected great initiative and is the type of service the rescue family prides itself on delivering both on the battlefield and on the home front. Their outstanding situations awareness and superior seamanship reflect the spirit of the recue motto: ‘These things we do…that others may live.’”

Sergeant Sather was wearing a full set of personal protective equipment, which he credits with saving his life. He displays his battle-worn PPE for training purposes (pictured). In a training brief to his squadron Feb. 1, Sergeant Sather delivered a first-hand account of the benefits of Department of Defense motorcycle safety. “The safety gear that I had on that day was fully adequate,” he adds.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Jonathan Kwong, one of the first responders, credited the new Joint medic/corpsman training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, as a factor.

“One of the new things they taught was emergency medical training, and I was not planning to use my EMT during this tour,” Kwong said.

Navy Commander Ross Orvik added “Most of the Desert Lightning sailors here come from the ship and bring their shipboard experience ashore when they report to D-M. When a crisis or casualty occurs their response is second nature, and the training they received in the Fleet really paid off this time.”




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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

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