VICENZA, Italy -- Monte Berico, a steep hill situated in the heart of Vicenza, houses an elegant historic church, which attracts numerous local residents and tourists because of the grand cityscape view it offers. For Sky Soldiers, the revered hill signifies the destination for a refreshing yet arduous run through scenic Vicenza during physical training.
On Thursday, August 31st Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade performed that run, then went above and beyond the call of duty by saving a local Italian woman's life.
Rogers prepared for the 5.5 mile run as usual, stretching his limbs and joints and priming his brain for an endurance state of mind. There was no premonition telling him that he may impact someone's life to the utmost extent, so he commenced running with a clear head. Running, jogging, sprinting, overcoming; he was focused on the task at hand.
The task was called the Danger Run, named after the company moniker; an event akin to a scavenger hunt where the participants run to various locations and complete specific tasks at each one. Once given the affirmative nod that they completed the mission, they continued onto the next destination.
"All of the sites were interspersed throughout downtown Vicenza," said Rogers. "For example, we went down to the Teatro Olimpico (an ancient structure in the center of the city) and sent up a nine-line medical evacuation request on a radio."
After Rogers and his team successfully completed all the events, they reached the train station, which functions as one of the route's pivotal milestones because it precedes the challenging incline. He ascended up it until he surmounted the hill, where his vehicle was staged for his return to base.
Once he finished congratulating his fellow soldiers for their hard work, he hopped in his car and started down the hill. It was near the same train station he passed moments before that he stopped at a crosswalk, letting an Italian lady traverse the street.
She took a few steps into the crosswalk, then unexpectedly collapsed on the unforgiving asphalt. Foam collected on both sides of her mouth and her body convulsed violently. As common in these abnormal events, onlookers stagnantly watched the scene unfold.
"No one reacted - they moved slowly and everyone looked confused," said Rodgers.
Luckily for the epileptic woman, Rogers was highly skilled in administering first aid. He instinctively exited his vehicle, stopped traffic and sprinted to her side. He shifted her purse up to her head to act as a pillow, and rolled her body from its supine posture onto its side in the recovery position to clear her airway, allowing the woman to breathe.
"I cleared her throat because she was convulsing at the mouth," said Rogers. "I used the purse because her head was bouncing on the ground and I stabilized her until the Italian Police showed up as well as a San Bortolo nurse. Within 10 to 15 minutes, the paramedics showed up."
Emergency medical services took over from there; they gathered blood samples, administered IV's and placed the woman on a stretcher. As she was being transferred onto the ambulance, she regained consciousness. Then the ambulance transported her to the hospital.
Thursday was not the first or second, or even third time Rogers had helped save someone's life. His prior unit, 3rd Special Forces Group, allowed him to receive some unique and extensive medical training, which equipped him with the knowledge required.
"I've saved someone's life down range," said Rogers. "I've helped with a couple motorcycle accidents back in Fayetteville, so I've just been able to react to stuff before."
Incontrovertibly, his altruistic action sends a clear message to American soldiers: they can help the Italian community in which they live by using their unique talents the military provides them with.
"Our soldiers are all trained, and when put in that scenario, the training will kick in and their quick reaction will save lives," said Rogers' platoon leader, 1st Lt. Carlos Omar Flores.
Lifesaving training is not the only way soldiers can show their appreciation to their gracious hosts; there are many facets of aid and service that the Army teaches such as the Core Values. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. All of which may assist the host nation and help cultivate a lasting relationship that is essential to the 173rd Airborne Brigade's success.