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    SANGB Guardsman Awarded Lifesaving Medal

    127th Wing Airmen Standing Ready

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Andrew Schumann | Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.-- Tech Sgt. Chelsea E. Barber interviews...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Chelsea FitzPatrick 

    127th Wing Public Affairs

    “You find yourself thinking, ‘This just doesn’t seem real.’”

    The Navy veteran, father, Air National Guard member and DTE Energy employee stood in a hangar at Selfridge Air National Guard base, recalling a story in the late summer heat. Wiping his face with his sleeve periodically, he was unwavering in retelling the story of the day he helped to save a stranger’s life. Staff Sgt. Aaron Johnson, a crew chief with the 127th Aircraft maintenance Squadron here, like most other National Guardsmen, attends to his busy civilian life as a father of one and contract employee at DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 plant in Monroe, Mich. One weekend a month, he puts on his military uniform and works on an A-10 Thunderbolt II maintenance team, ensuring proper care and maintenance is administered to the attack jet fleet based here.

    Johnson, also a prior servicemember, joined the Air National Guard after being discharged from active-duty Navy. He chose to continue his part-time military career and contribute his unique skills to the private sector, skills that helped him assist in saving a man’s life.

    “Just being who we are, being in the Guard… if [an emergency] happens, you go to it, you don’t wait to see what happens next,” Johnson said.

    Johnson first received his EMT license while in the Navy and practiced as a shipboard first responder for four years. After relocating to Michigan, he continued his EMT training and tried his hand as a paramedic.

    “I didn’t get as much satisfaction out of the medical side… so I wanted to walk away from that aspect of it,” Johnson said.

    Luckily for Johnson, after starting a job at the Fermi 2 plant as a Radwaste technician, he was able to volunteer to become a first responder in his work center, an additional duty that came in handy the day he heard a security guard call for help over the radio. As soon as he heard the call, his instincts kicked in and he followed after. The scene Johnson came upon was grim: a truck driver had suffered a heart attack and collapsed. The man struck his face on the edge of his trailer with such force that he had multiple teeth knocked out, among other facial trauma. Despite Johnson’s quick reaction to assist the unconscious man, he remembers thinking to himself that the experience felt surreal.

    “You never really think about [what you’re doing] while it’s happening,” Johnson said.

    Joining a group of five other people, Johnson took turns administering CPR, ultimately using a defibrillator to shock the man’s heart. After two shocks, the man opened his eyes. The team continued providing assistance until an ambulance arrived to transport him to the hospital, where he survived after undergoing open-heart surgery. Johnson didn’t plan to publicize his story of lifesaving, he just shared it with a close friend in his unit. The story travelled up his chain of command and he was nominated to receive the National Guard Lifesaving Medal, an honor he received during the 127th Wing’s August duty weekend.

    “Without the quick response and expertise knowledge from Staff Sgt. Johnson, the truck driver would have surely passed,” reads the citation accompanying the award of the medal. “The distinctive accomplishments of Staff Sgt. Aaron Johnson reflect great credit upon himself, the Michigan Air National Guard and the United States Air Force.”

    Johnson advises anyone, whether servicemembers or not, who find themselves as a first responder to a medical emergency to just act.

    “Even if you don’t know how to help, you can still get on the phone to call the police, an ambulance, talk to the person while they’re waiting,” Johnson said. “You don’t wait until it’s too late to help.”



    Date Taken: 10.06.2017
    Date Posted: 10.06.2017 19:44
    Story ID: 250916

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