3 local Soldiers save another Soldier's life
January 23, 2013
NUREMBERG, Germany (Jan. 24, 2013) -- Three local Soldiers, two from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment and one from the 172nd Infantry Brigade, looked to their Army training, bravery and gumption to save a man's life after a train ran over him at the Hauptbahnhof, here, Dec. 22.
They acted immediately, without questioning their actions, and along with their wives, acted together without previously knowing each other. The man whose life they saved was Spc. Lee W. Miller, a fellow Soldier from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
At 5 p.m., Dec. 22, Sgt. Dennis Keyes, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and his wife, Sarah, were waiting on Platform 17 for the next ride to Vilseck.
Keyes watched as Miller tried to the open a door of a train that was about to depart. In the process, Miller dropped his jacket on the tracks and tumbled after it.
The train pulled away, leaving Miller unconscious on the tracks, and the lower part of his leg lying a few feet away. The last three cars had run over his leg, severing it inches below his knee.
Keyes ran onto the tracks to check Miller's vital signs while Sarah hurried downstairs to find help. She called the polizei and reported what she'd seen and had an English-speaking German teenager call them again to ensure they understood.
In the spirit of thoroughness, she then hunted down a janitor and dragged him to the scene of the accident so he could report what he saw.
Meanwhile, Keyes needed to move Miller away from the danger of oncoming trains, and waved to get someone's attention. Everyone had vacated the area after the accident except Sgt. Kodzo Tse, with Regimental Support Squadron, Alpha Troop, 2nd Calvary Regiment.
"I saw him waving and yelling 'help, help, help,'" Tse said.
Tse ran to Keyes and together they brought Miller onto the platform.
With Miller bleeding liberally from his stump and from a cut on his head, the 2CR Soldiers hurried to apply a tourniquet to the leg.
Using two of the victim's scarves and a stick found on the tracks, Tse and Keyes wrapped and tied the fabric to stem the bleeding.
"Once I got the tourniquet on there, it slowed down quite a bit," Keyes said.
Walking straight into the unexpected chaos, Spc. Jesse Chelf, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade, and his wife, Kymberly, arrived on Platform 17, early for their train.
Both husband and wife immediately jumped in to assist. Chelf placed the bloody leg, still lying on the tracks, into a plastic shopping bag, while Kymberly talked to Miller, who was still unconscious, and rubbed his chest, trying to rouse him.
Though Keyes and Tse had significantly stemmed the flow of blood, they still needed to elevate Miller's leg.
"I realized that they had not had his legs elevated," said Chelf. "I grabbed a shoe box, I had bought shoes that day, and elevated the leg."
As he began to wake up and his initial disorientation wore off, Miller began to panic.
Chelf said that the three Soldiers and his wife kept him from looking at his leg, because "the shock would have made it worse."
In the face of an appalling accident, three Soldiers and their wives responded quickly and calmly to keep a stranger alive and to ensure that medics would arrive.
"I knew exactly what I needed to do and what I had to do and it was all Army training," said Keyes.
All three Soldiers had undergone the Combat Lifesaver Course, which gave them the tools to check vital signs, assess for broken bones, apply tourniquets, dress a wound and keep a level head while doing so.
"I knew my first objective was to stay as calm as possible and then treat the casualty. If I hadn't had that training I wouldn't have known what to do," said Keyes.
For both Tse and Keyes, the accident at Nuremberg was the first time they had to use their CLS training. Both men emphasized how the training took over to keep them active, mindful and, according to Keyes, "to push the emotion away and deal with the situation."
As an infantryman recently returned from Afghanistan, Chelf had seen and responded to severe injuries. But, the importance of being able to step up and act during an emergency is a quality he values.
"I do take pride in that the training I had gave me what I need to know to save a man's life," Chelf said.