By Trecia A. WilsonFebruary 5, 2009
BAMBERG, Germany -- It's 12:53 a.m. January 30. The phone at the Department of Emergency Services desk begins ringing and starts the clock on what could have been a disaster were it not for the quick response of four Military Police assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg.
"It was very confusing when the call first came in," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Zustra, the desk sergeant who received and dispatched the call. "The mother was frantic and had taken her 6-month-old child to her neighbor's home to call in the emergency.
"The child had stopped breathing and was beginning to turn blue," he recalled.
In her panic the mother was very difficult to understand, but with the aid of the neighbor and Zustra, emergency personnel were immediately dispatched to the home.
The Military Police officers who responded were Sgt. Michael Morales-Ramos, Pfc. Ronald Blank and Pfc. Berent Jones, all members of the 630th MP Company.
Morales-Ramos rushed to the home to assist the child, while Jones was dispatched to Gate 3 to meet the ambulance when it arrived.
"I thought I was responding to a call to help a choking child," said Morales-Ramos. "I was in a little shock when I saw it was an infant who had stopped breathing and was turning blue in the face."
Morales-Ramos had practiced CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation during training, but had never resuscitated a person before.
Once he overcame his initial shock, he referred to his training and took action. He found a pulse and so immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the infant and continued until the paramedics arrived.
Blank was also dispatched to the residence; however, his mission changed upon arrival. Blank had to contact housing to obtain an apartment key because the mother had locked herself out of her home in her panic to call the MPs.
As a result of the quick response by the Soldiers, the ambulance responded quickly and within five minutes arrived and transported mother and child to the hospital.
Sgt. First Class Calvin Newman, operations manager of USAG Bamberg DES, believes these Soldiers responded remarkably well. "Although many people believe it is 'all in a day's work' for MPs to respond to emergencies like this, it really isn't," said Newman.
"We train Soldiers to respond to these situations," he added, "but these things just don't happen that often. When they do, it's up to each Soldier to draw upon skills they may never have used except in a training scenario.
"[T]hese Soldiers did a wonderful job of stepping up to the challenge. They are a wonderful testament to the quality of Military Police in our garrison," Newman said.