Airmen aid cyclist in roadside accident

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Odame, right, 727th Air Mobility Squadron air freight supervisor, stands with U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas D. Torkleson, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, after being presented a Commander’s Coin, Nov. 13, 2015, on RAF Mildenhall. Odame helped a cyclist who had been hit by a motorist, Nov. 2, 2015, along the A1101 near Mildenhall, England. Odame ensured the cyclist was kept conscious and warm while directing traffic until the local emergency services arrived. (U.S. Air Force photo by Karen Abeyasekere/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Odame, right, 727th Air Mobility Squadron air freight supervisor, stands with U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas D. Torkleson, 100th Air Refueling Wing commander, after being presented a Commander’s Coin, Nov. 13, 2015, on RAF Mildenhall. Odame helped a cyclist who had been hit by a motorist, Nov. 2, 2015, along the A1101 near Mildenhall, England. Odame ensured the cyclist was kept conscious and warm while directing traffic until the local emergency services arrived. (U.S. Air Force photo by Karen Abeyasekere/Released)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- On the dark drive home from work, heavy fog cloaks the roadway. Down the road, cars begin to slow and wait to pass an obstruction in traffic. As the line of cars merge into the oncoming lane of traffic, it becomes apparent that the obstacle is a person lying in the middle of the lane.

The evening of Nov. 2, 2015, Staff Sgt. Richard Odame, 727th Air Mobility Squadron air freight supervisor, and Senior Airman Jacob See, 100th Security Forces Squadron combined controller, are the first at the scene of a car and cyclist collision near Mildenhall, Suffolk.

"At about 6 p.m. it was already dark and that day the fog had rolled in thick," described See. "My girlfriend and I were driving from Lakenheath to my house in Mildenhall. We were no more than 20 seconds from the house when we saw an SUV stopped by the zebra crossing in the middle of the road. We were the first ones to stop."

"I noticed I was driving around a body lying by the side of the road," Odame recalled. "The vehicle directly ahead and me immediately pulled over and checked on the woman lying in the street. The woman was responsive and we proceeded to keep her calm and warm."

A vehicle struck the cyclist from behind and mangled her bike.

"The lady that hit the bicyclist looked distraught," Odame said. "I felt bad for both individuals involved because it was a very unfortunate accident."

The Airmen and several onlookers directed the flow of traffic before local authorities and emergency responders arrived at the scene.

"It felt really good to help," See said. "It was good to know there wasn't any unrecoverable damage done to the poor lady."

Odame explained how his military background gave him the confidence to respond in this scenario.

"Training kicked in," Odame said. "Having situational awareness made me able to make instinctive decisions to aid the cyclist."

Both Airmen felt that their actions weren't heroic, but simply the right thing to do.

"We are all human and we need to take care of each other," Odame said. "Being overseas, we need to be ambassadors for our country and leave a positive impression here in the UK."