SEOUL, Republic of Korea - What should have been an easygoing Saturday for Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Kraft and his four-year-old son quickly turned into a real world emergency at the Pirate Park near K-16 Air Base, March 23.
Kraft, a fixed-wing aviator assigned to Company E, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, has been stationed in South Korea for more than a year and isn't new to stepping in to help during life-threatening situations.
"I was at the park playing with my son, and went to sit on a bench when a boy sitting next to his mother starting making a gasping strained moan," said the Maysville, Georgia native. "I laid him down on my lap to make sure he didn't hurt himself during the seizure while his mom propped his feet up."
The boy then stopped breathing so Kraft began first aid while the mom contacted emergency services. The child's mother started chest compressions and Kraft gave breaths through the boy's nose until the boy began to breathe on his own.
"When he stopped breathing, I was thinking this situation went to a hundred miles an hour really quickly and as a father, how do I explain to my son if this child dies on my lap," Kraft recalled.
Although the boy was breathing again, he was still seizing, so Kraft and the mother laid the boy on the ground. Once the child stopped having seizures, they placed him in the recovery position and began to massage the child's limbs and monitor his progress until the paramedics arrived.
"My heart goes out to the mom, you can tell it was not her first time dealing with her son having a seizure," said Kraft. "Hats off to her. She responded quickly and calmly to the situation."
For the past 12 years, Kraft has served as both enlisted and warrant in the U.S. Army with time in infantry, signal and aviation branches. His experience has given him the ability to react quickly to high stress situations without hesitation, according to his peers and leadership.
"His actions aren't really surprising because that's simply his character," said his platoon leader, 1st Lt. Derek Vess, Seguin, Texas native. "He acts quickly when someone else is in need, whether its day-to-day activities around the office or moments of emergency."
Kraft happened to be the first responder during a previous incident involving a Soldier who was struck by a bongo truck that had run a red light in 2018.
"Kraft is a true professional and his actions of selfless service and personal courage demonstrate that extraordinary can be ordinary for a true hero," said Vess.