Citizen Airman saves the life of stranger

Courtesy photograph

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz— On his way home from a family Fourth of July outing to a baseball game in Tucson, Arizona, Senior Airman Joseph Youngberg, 924th Maintenance Squadron aircraft medals technology journeyman, became someone’s hero.

Due to his willingness to get involved and quick actions, Youngberg, a diplomatic security guard in his civilian career and a Reservist serving with the 924th Fighter Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, saved the life of a complete stranger who was involved in a stabbing incident.

“I was heading home from a baseball game when I saw a man, who appeared to be homeless, standing in the median yelling, ‘Please!’ As I drove closer I saw the man’s clothes were completely soaked in blood, I came to a stop, rolled down my window and asked the man what was going on. He replied that he had been stabbed and was bleeding out,” said Youngberg.

Initially Youngberg thought the incident might be a set up for a robbery and was a bit hesitant about the whole situation. However, after further consideration and seeing the stab wound to the man’s face he realized he needed to provide help. With his family in the car Youngberg wanted to ensure their safety and instructed his wife to call the police, get the gun out of the glove compartment, lock the doors and get in the driver’s seat. He also instructed his wife if anyone returned with a knife, she was to drive off with the children and leave him there.

As he exited the vehicle Youngberg immediately began to assess the victim. “He had two puncture wounds on his body, one to the left side of his chest just below his heart and another on the right side of his stomach. He also had a slash wound sweeping diagonally across his chest.”

On further examination of the victim, Youngberg found a stab wound to his arm and a small stab wound to the leg.

“Most of the blood was coming out of his chest wound. This immediately became my number one priority. I laid the man down on his back and grabbed his shirt and used it to cover the chest wound and the stomach wound. I applied pressure to both wounds and monitored his other wounds.”

Youngberg then began collecting information from the victim regarding the individual who stabbed him. He questioned him about the weapon used, how he knew the assailant, what caused the incident and if he knew what direction the attacker had possible fled.

After approximately 10 minutes of holding pressure on the victim’s wounds, the first police officers arrived on the scene and began to take control. One of the officer’s approached Youngberg and began discussing what transpired. After the man’s wounds were addressed by the officers, Emergency Medical Systems arrived and took over providing medical care, at this point Youngberg had been on scene for over 20 minutes.

Youngberg credits his actions to a combination of experience with other traumatic incidents he has helped with, his military training and the fact that with his current civilian job he is given EMS training.

“My nature is to be calm, there have been at least 12 different incidents in Tucson where I have jumped into action. The first time I was almost in shell shock but after so many times your instinct just kicks in. You learn from each incident and try to do better the next time.”

Thinking back on the event and knowing the individual he helped survived a horrific and potentially deadly attack, Youngberg said, “It really made me feel good to have a positive effect, it was really great. I just feel proud that I was able to put a positive light on the negative situation.

“The only thing I might have done different was to have my wife drive away and leave me there. I was worried about them, however when I got back in the car my wife and four-year old daughter told me they had been praying about the event. When you help someone and your kids see it they start learning to help others.”