By Maj. Allen Hill, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) Public AffairsApril 8, 2015
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. (USASOC News Service, April 8, 2015) -- Two Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) received the Citizen Award for Commendation from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday, March 25.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 David Longoria and Staff Sgt. Victor Velasquez were recognized by Police Chief Joseph H. "Jack" Lumpkin for their heroic actions on Feb. 27, 2015, when they responded to an accident in which a 14-year-old boy had been struck by a car and pinned underneath.
"Your quick response, determination, and risk to your own personal safety are to be commended." Lumpkin said. "And it illustrates your commitment to improving the quality of life in the Savannah-Chatham metropolitan community."
Both Soldiers were driving onto the installation early that morning when they witnessed a young man hit as he waited for his school bus. Disregarding their own personal safety, both ran through traffic to assist in the efforts to save the teen and control the situation.
"I stopped and immediately jumped out of my vehicle and ran toward the accident," said Longoria. "I was able to get the driver to turn off his vehicle, have him call 911, and I began to assess the situation."
"The victim was unconscious, and the sister of the young man was crying frantically," Longoria said. "I did what I could to get her to call her mother, try to calm her down, and work with Velasquez to assess the victim's injuries."
Velasquez ran to the passenger side when he saw the teen's face was trapped under the front axle, the rest of his body underneath the car, and his feet toward the rear of the vehicle.
"I began screaming for bystanders to call 911 while I held his C-Spine [cervical spine] in place. He was unconscious and I was afraid that if we moved him too much it would hurt him more." Velasquez said.
Velasquez remained with the victim stabilizing his head and upper body until medical personnel arrived.
Longoria began to instruct those around him to lift the car off the trapped teen. As they attempted to lift the vehicle, Velasquez tried to free him but the boy's clothes got caught, delaying the effort.
"His jacket was caught underneath and it was difficult to pull him out after several attempts. Another individual came over to me and together we were finally able to free him as more people lifted the car." Velasquez said.
The young man regained consciousness after being removed from under the vehicle. Both Soldiers remained with him - Velasquez stabilized his head, and talked to him to keep him calm while Longoria controlled the area and assessed the rest of the boy's injuries.
An off-duty fireman eventually approached the scene and took control of the care provided to the young man as emergency personnel began to arrive to provide care and transport him to a local medical facility.
The teen remained in the hospital for several days following the incident and is still recovering from his injuries.
"Chief Warrant Officer 4 Longoria and Staff Sgt. Velasquez's actions epitomize the values, attributes and competencies that make this battalion so successful on the battlefield and around the world," said Lt. Col. Chris Black, the Commander of 3rd Battalion.
"Selflessly and without thought, responding and helping someone in need," he continued. "What a testament that these two men are to themselves, their families and to all of the Night Stalkers both past and present."