ASOS Airmen Respond to Accident
By Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell, 274th Air Support Operations Squadron
/ Published May 08, 2017
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Two Airmen assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, New York Air National Guard in Syracuse, were on the scene of a car accident that occurred outside of the main gate to Hancock Airfield, April 4, 2017.
Tech Sgt. Brandon Mason, a support services specialist, and Tech Sgt. Seth Stucker, a first sergeant assigned to the 274th ASOS, saw the accident occur and were immediately on the scene.
“Tech Sgt. Mason and I were returning from lunch and we were stuck at a red light,” said Stucker. “As we were sitting at the light I said to Mason that there was a car that was going to run the red light.”
As the two Airmen were sitting in their truck, they saw the car accident unfold in front of them.
As the car ran the red light, it crossed two lanes of traffic and almost collided with another car, said Stucker. The car went off the road and into some thick brush and hit a tree, said Stucker.
Watching the car go by, it seemed to Mason and Stucker that the driver may have had a medical emergency.
“I put my truck in park and put on my blinkers,” said Stucker. “We were literally outside the main gate so I told Mason to go to security forces and get a triage bag and to call 911.”
For Stucker, his Air Force career has spanned more than 13 years, nine of which were on active duty. He was trained as medic and holds an EMT license, giving him the skills to respond to the accident he just saw.
He was out of his door, racing on foot across the road even before I could open my own door, said Mason. I came around through the path the vehicle carved through the brush to help Stucker as he got access to the car to tend to the driver, said Mason.
One of the first things they noticed was that the car was still in drive and the wheels were spinning, but the vehicle held stationary by the tree it drove into.
“I gained access to his car and turned off the ignition and put the keys off to the side so the airbags wouldn’t deploy,” said Stucker. “A couple other people showed up so I had them jump in the back of the car and take C-spine precautions.”
The Airmen never once faltered under the undeniable stress of the situation. On that day, cool heads prevailed.
“Stucker never once acted frantic, yelled or evinced any sort of panicked action,” said Mason. “He managed to stabilize the victim’s spine and directed first responders, such as myself, on procedures and actions to save a young man from further harm.”
EMTs, police and the fire department were soon on the scene to deliver care and direct traffic. For Stucker however, the job was not done.
“He remained at the driver’s side speaking calmly to him and cooperating with all of the agencies on the scene the entire time,” said Mason. “He was the first to arrive on the scene and the last to leave the young man’s side as he was loaded into the ambulance.”
It was a collective effort with all of the Airmen working together the best they could, with Airmen such as Mason putting into action their Air Force training.
“One thing that really impressed me with Mason was that I’m also a self-aid and buddy care instructor, and he jumped right in and knew what to do because of that training,” said Stucker. “It’s good to see that the programs we have are actually being utilized when it comes to real-world situations.”
In the end, the Airmen were proud that they were able to help and proud of each other.
“He acted every inch the superb Airman we all strive to achieve,” said Mason. “A man who saves lives as a matter of course. A man cool under pressure and a man who ultimately thinks of others before himself. I am proud to serve along men such as he. An example for the rest to follow.”