Off-duty defenders take action, save life

Senior Airman Roland Almendarez and Airman 1st Class Ryan Green, 48th Security Forces Squadron response force members, pose for a photo at the front gate at Royal Air Force Feltwell, England, March 24, 2016. While volunteering at a half marathon, the Airmen employed their medical knowledge to provide critical lifesaving support, when they witnessed a man collapse during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Erin Trower)

Senior Airman Roland Almendarez and Airman 1st Class Ryan Green, 48th Security Forces Squadron response force members, pose for a photo at the front gate at Royal Air Force Feltwell, England, March 24, 2016. While volunteering at a half marathon, the Airmen employed their medical knowledge to provide critical lifesaving support, when they witnessed a man collapse during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Erin Trower)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- "I didn't think about anything...but saving his life."

These were the words of Airman 1st Class Ryan Green, 48th Security Forces Squadron alpha flight response force member, as he reflected on a recent event which involved saving a runner's life during a half marathon in Cambridge last month.

Green, and another 48th SFS response force member, Senior Airman Roland Almendarez, were volunteering at the race, carrying out traffic control and setting up perimeters. Suddenly, they witnessed a man collapse near the finish line and immediately responded to assess the situation.

After noticing he was unconscious, Almendarez sought out an emergency services vehicle that passed by moments earlier. Green immediately started performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when he realized the man had no pulse and wasn't breathing. An off-duty nurse, who saw the situation unfolding, hurdled over a barrier to assist Green by performing chest compressions.

"He came back around, took a few breaths, I felt a heartbeat, and then he was gone again," Green said.

Shortly after Almendarez arrived with the EMS staff, where he and Green directed them to the accident site, the EMS staff quickly took over to provide further medical treatment.

According to both Airmen, the man was resuscitated once again as he was lifted into the ambulance.

"We encourage our Airmen to not hesitate, and take action when it's warranted; to rely on their training, and be confident in their skills," said Lt. Col. Tara Opielowski, 48th SFS commander. "When they see something [they're trained] to act upon it right away, and Ryan and Roland did that. They were the essence of being a man-of-action and it saved a life."

According to Opielowski, the man's family is extremely gracious. They believe, had Green not been there and performed CPR, he probably wouldn't be with them today.

Green and Almendarez stressed the importance of medical training the Air Force offers, and advise Airmen to take what they can from the training. They claim it's crucial to remain calm and to always fall back on your training if ever in a similar situation.