Army training helps Talon Soldier save life
Sgt. John Dupree, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, demonstrates how to properly apply the Heimlich maneuver. During a meal with his fiancée's family, Dupree used the same technique to stop his future brother in-law from choking. Dupree attributes his knowledge of basic life saving skills to training he received throughout his military career. - U.S. Army photo by Spc. Timothy N. Oberle

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - Much like students in a high school algebra class, U.S. Soldiers often find themselves wondering what types of "real world" scenarios they will find themselves in where they need to use certain areas of training they have been taught. On Aug. 1, for Sgt. John Dupree, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, any questions surrounding the applicability of the combat life saving skills learned during his career in the Army were answered in one heroic display of courage during a dinner at a Korean home near here. Dupree was in the middle of enjoying a traditional Korean meal with his fiancAfAe\'s family, when his future brother-in-law, Mr. Ahn, began convulsing at his seat directly across the dinner table. While all of Mr. Ahn's family sat motionless and crippled with panic, Dupree instinctively leapt into action. "I immediately knew he was having a seizure from my experience in dealing with Soldiers who suffered from the same symptoms," said Dupree. "The first thing that popped into my mind was to get his airway cleared because he was turning purple. I just jumped to my feet and positioned myself to apply the Heimlich and the rest was pure instinct. I attribute those instincts to the Army's repetitive training in basic combat life saving skills throughout the years." The Ahn family sat in horror as he gasped desperately for air while Dupree applied the Heimlich. "My family and I were terrified because all we could do was sit there and watch him suffer," recalled Dupree's fiancAfAe, Ms. Ahn. "Despite the fact that no one in my family could do anything to help my brother, John knew exactly what to do and took control of the situation." Dupree added, "I just reacted to the situation as best I could and I am glad I was able to clear his breathing passage. Once I restored his normal breathing we took him to the Gangneun Asan Hospital to make sure he was alright." "Not only did he save my brother's life, but he also rode with us in the ambulance to the hospital and stayed until a doctor examined him," said Ms. Ahn. "Throughout the entire horrid experience, John tried to make us feel comfortable and manage the seriousness of the situation." After a few tests at the hospital, Mr. Ahn was diagnosed with a condition known as epilepsy, which causes those afflicted with the disease to have occasional seizures. "At least we know his condition now and can be more prepared in the future," said a relieved Mrs. Ahn. Reflecting back on the situation, Dupree attributed his life saving skills to his training in the military. "If I had never learned first aid in the military, he probably would have died," Dupree said. Mr. Ahn's mother agreed saying, "We might have lost our son without John's help and without his medical knowledge and the emergency response procedures he had learned in the U.S Army. We think John is an honorable Soldier and we have the greatest respect for him. We believe the U.S. Army trains Soldiers to be ready for any emergency situation and the training helped John save my son's life." (Editor's note: While the Ahn family is eternally grateful for Sgt. Dupree's actions, they wished that their first names not be used in the article for privacy concerns. Spc. Timothy N. Oberle is assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

Page last updated Wed August 25th, 2010 at 03:57