New York National Guard Soldiers Aid Subway Stabbing Victim

By Eric Durr, New York National GuardJune 4, 2024

New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Joel Strickland, left, and Spc. Desany Jacques, members of the New York National Guard security force, used their training and first aid packages to help save the life of a stabbing victim May 20, 2024, while on duty in Queens. The two Soldiers were assisting New York police officers checking the bags of subway riders. ( U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Stephanie Sylvain)
New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Joel Strickland, left, and Spc. Desany Jacques, members of the New York National Guard security force, used their training and first aid packages to help save the life of a stabbing victim May 20, 2024, while on duty in Queens. The two Soldiers were assisting New York police officers checking the bags of subway riders. ( U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Stephanie Sylvain) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

NEW YORK - Two quick-thinking, well-trained New York National Guard Soldiers helped save the life of a man stabbed at a Queens subway station May 20.

Staff Sgt. Joel Strickland and Spc. Desany Jacques, members of the New York Guard’s New York City security force, used their medical skills and trauma kits to stop the bleeding and stabilize him.

Both men have military medical training and are volunteer first responders in civilian life. So, they were the right people to handle this emergency, said Capt. Caleb Jean, their company commander in Joint Task Force-Empire Shield.

“These two Soldiers were able to react without hesitation,” Jean said. “I am extremely impressed with how they handled the situation.”

The incident began just after 2 p.m. when Strickland and Jacques reported to the security checkpoint site at the Suphin Boulevard and Archer Street subway station.

Since March 6, at the direction of Gov. Kathy Hochul, members of the joint task force have been assisting the New York Police Department and Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department as officers check the bags of subway riders.

Strickland, a medic assigned to the headquarters company of the 42nd Infantry Division, has served in Joint Task Force Empire Shield since 2020.

Jacques, assigned to the 102nd Military Police Company as a supply specialist, has served for eight months.

Joint Task Force-Empire Shield comprises 780 Soldiers and Airmen who serve on state active duty while performing their annual training and drill periods. They provide security in city train and subway stations and at airports and bridges.

The two Soldiers were introducing themselves to the two police officers they would be supporting when they heard a commotion, Strickland recalled. A shirtless man was coming down the stairs cursing and screaming.

He jumped the turnstile and began fighting with two other civilians, Strickland said.

Five police officers moved to break up the fight and get the men out of the subway, Strickland said. They asked the two Soldiers to cover their backs and do crowd control while they broke up the scuffle.

The officers got them headed out of the station when the two men who had been attacked ran up to the two Soldiers and one of the cops.

“Specialist Jacques says, ‘Are you OK?’ One of the civilians turns around — he had a black hoodie on — and his entire hoodie was soaked in blood,” Strickland said.

While the police called for an ambulance, Strickland directed Jacques, trained as a combat lifesaver, to run up to their vehicle and retrieve the EMT bag inside.

Strickland and the police got the victim on the ground and pulled up the hoodie. The wound was on the upper right side of his back, about the width of a nickel, and 4 inches long.

Strickland put on latex gloves and covered the wound to stop the bleeding. Now, he needed a special trauma bandage from his medical kit that task force members carry.

Like the quick clot bandages used in Iraq and Afghanistan, the gauze has a material that makes blood clot. These newer CELOX bandages use material from shrimp, crab and lobster shells to do the same thing.

Jacques returned with the larger aid kit and the two Soldiers packed the lifesaving material into the man’s wound until the bleeding stopped. About 10 minutes later, the EMTs arrived.

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