Fate is the occurrence of events beyond a person’s control, and when the circumstance of fate comes calling it is a matter of recognizing you may be the right person in the right place at the right time. In the month of March, three U.S. Military Academy cadets were placed in three separate situations where a matter of life and death required them to act and jump to the forefront.Between March 8 and 26, while Class of 2020 Cadets Keegan Buros and Matthew DiBiase and Class of 2023 Cadet Jazmyne Drake were on spring break or the COVID-19 stay-at-home requirement from West Point, they used the training they received at the academy to perform various forms of life-saving measures and assessments to help change the outcome of individuals’ fates, which otherwise may have been dire.Those turns of fate brought Buros to the side of a man who had been hit by a car March 11. He and his mother were driving to his home from the Milwaukee (Mitchell International) Airport, he said, when they came upon the scene of the accident. He triaged the man’s injuries including controlling his bleeding, managed the scene and helped keep the wounded man conscious during the chaotic experience until paramedics and police arrived.On the other hand, DiBiase was simply hanging out at his home March 26 in Sanibel, Florida, when he was forced to spring into action.It was about 8 p.m. after a seasonably hot day, he said, and he was relaxing in the living room when his brother sprinted in worriedly and said something was seriously wrong with his friend.His brother, Ken, had been on the family boat with a female friend. As Ken was driving the boat back a short distance in San Carlos Bay, he noticed something was wrong with her and rushed to the house for help.DiBiase and his brother, mother and father all rushed out to the dock to check and care for her.“My mom and older brother, Ken, were lifting his friend, a woman in her 20s, off the boat and onto the dock,” DiBiase said. “At first, she was able to softly respond to some questions—‘Have you had any substances? No. Have you had anything to drink? Very little. Are you sure? Yes.’—Then, after laying her down on the dock, she became unresponsive and no longer answered questions.“My father immediately called 911. She was limp and clammy. I checked for a pulse —none, and breathing—none,” he added. “My brother and I performed CPR on the dock, switching when the other got tired. After several bouts of compressions and breaths, finally, her body began to move and she began to gag.”DiBiase said they rolled her onto her side, allowing her to vomit and clear her airway. She then opened her eyes and began to whisper to answer some of their questions. However, suddenly within seconds, he said, her head rolled back, and her eyes stared off as she became unresponsive again.“After checking her pulse and breathing, I began compressions again,” DiBiase said. “Her jaw was clenched very tight, making breaths difficult. My mom, who is a nurse, carefully with her fingers, swept (the female friend’s) mouth and slowly was able to clear her airway. My brother and I kept up the compressions and breaths, and she eventually opened her eyes with shallow breathing.“Hearing the commotion, a bystander, who was also a combat medic from across the canal, steered his boat over to our dock,” he added. “He asked her questions, helping keep her responsive and breathing on her own. The EMTs eventually arrived and took her to the hospital.”In all, DiBiase said he and his brother, who is a recent graduate of SUNY Maritime College, performed CPR for about 10-to-12 minutes before help arrived. He said having his brother there helped because CPR is exhausting to perform and added, “We switched every few minutes to ensure she received adequate compressions and breaths.”The future Signal Corps officer, who will be stationed in Baumholder, Germany once he graduates in June, said he was afraid for her life, but also took into account all that he learned at West Point to help control a grave situation.“I would be untruthful to say I didn’t recognize the gravity of the situation,” he said. “However, I controlled the situation as best as I could and relied upon my training and my brother to provide first aid until EMS arrived.“The ‘head tilt, chin lift,’ to open the victim’s airway, ‘looking, listening and feeling,’ to assess if the victim is breathing on her own and the ratio of ‘30 compressions to 2 breaths,’” he added, “were all pieces of knowledge drilled into my memory at West Point.”The young woman was discharged from the hospital and is now home and doing well after what was suspected to be heat stroke combined with cardiac arrest due to underlying health conditions.Drake was thrust into life-saving mode about 30 minutes after her arrival in Tallahassee, Florida for spring break March 8. She and her friend, Dai’janae, were traveling from the airport at about 6 p.m. on a two-lane road between Florida A&M University and Florida State University. They reached their destination and were walking along the side of the road, Drake said, when a head-on car crash happened 20 feet behind them. Immediately, her friend called 911 while Drake ran to one of the vehicles involved in the accident.Drake said the truck she ran to was smoking after it jumped the curb and hit the wall of a building. Trying to open the door was difficult, but once she did, she saw an elderly man thrown across the two seats due to him not wearing a seat belt.“Trying to get him out of the truck took about four minutes,” she said. “He was unconscious at the beginning, and I had to try to get him awake. Moving him a bit away (from the truck) and asking questions took around the same time. He was alert enough to ask me for his phone, which I retrieved.”Drake said she did feel the urgency of getting him out of the truck because of the smoke, the smell of chemicals and everything was heated as the truck was destroyed.“I did not feel that (the truck) would explode, but I knew staying in the truck would only have detrimental effects due to the nature of the chemical (smell),” she said. “The truck was completely warped from hitting the car and the building. Although I did not get a good look at the car, it was totaled from a quick glance. When I went in the truck, one of the most disturbing things was how mangled the interior was, and how the old man was strewn on top of that chaos.”After she made sure the elderly man was fine beyond some chest pains, she went to help with a younger man who had been in the smaller vehicle.At that point, three men had helped carry the man out of his car into the road where she noticed he had huge swelling on his forehead and bleeding from several areas on his body. The three men could not control him as he was yelling and trying to move everywhere, so she ran up to them and took over by getting the man to calm down and lay on the ground.“The young man had swelling on his forehead that came out about three inches and he was bleeding,” Drake said. “There was blood from other cuts around his arms, legs and his jeans were ripped. I spent the majority of my time with him. After taking control and getting him on the ground, I started with letting him assume a position most comfortable for him.“He ended up in my lap, where I tried to keep his head from swiveling all around,” she added. “I patted him down, especially in the legs where he had the most bleeding. Since he had walked a bit, I then left his legs alone and tried to see if he had any chest injuries by gently patting his chest. It took about eight minutes because I had to be gentle with him while doing it.”She talked to him, helped with the injuries and kept him calm until the paramedics arrived. In reflection, she gives credit to her first year at the academy for helping give her clarity of mind in the stressful, chaotic situation.“I think if I did not have the training gained after one year of being at West Point, I would not have reacted as quickly,” Drake said. “I most definitely would not have had the confidence to try to get the elderly man out of a smoking truck and I would have looked for someone else to take over.”Drake also believes West Point gave her the confidence to jump into the middle of the fray and know she could be the go-to person to get things done.“I believe the biggest lesson from West Point that allowed me to act quickly and decisively is the lesson of leading from the front,” she added. “Someone needed to help and lead, and that lesson urged me to not waste time and to jump into it. The Combat Lifesaver training also helped me in remaining calm, as it gave me a checklist to try to help the men. Finally, I had the knowledge of trusting in a team, which gave me confidence that Dai’janae had done a great job and that help was on the way.”While she did say she was terrified that the elderly man was dead at first and what could she do in that situation, she decided to attack the problem step-by-step, “Step 1 was getting him out, and I would worry about everything else later.”Drake said that one of the men who helped get the young man out of his vehicle came up to her afterward and said how thankful he was that she was there to help. With that moment in her mind, the decision of where her life will lead, not only at West Point but after West Point, is much clearer now.“I believe the experience told me I was correct in choosing a life of an Army officer,” Drake said. “When I was responding to the crash, I leaned on my prior training, but more than that I leaned upon the examples of my instructors and mentors at West Point in order to emulate their character and resiliency.“The fact that I was able to do that,” she concluded, “and how it helped in treating those two men, it showed me that the life of an Army officer was a correct decision for me.”(Editor’s note: Class of 2020 Cadet Keegan Buros is briefly mentioned in this article for his life-saving measures March 11, however, he chose not to want to have his story told in depth because he said he feels it is something many of his peers would do in the same circumstance, so while he is cited, I will keep to his request and not expand on his story.)