Kadena Airmen save tourist's life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
What does it mean to be a good neighbor? Care about those around you? Be available to help whenever needed? How about saving someone's life?

On Oct. 3, three Airmen from the 18th Communications Squadron assisted in saving the life of a Chinese tourist while on Zamami Island.

The Airmen were able to use Self-Aid Buddy Care techniques that they learned in the Air Force to keep the woman stable until medical assistance could be provided.

Airman 1st Class Katheryn Pae, Airman James Tufarelli, and Airman 1st Class Daniel Olszewski, 18th Communications Squadron cyber transport technicians, were beginning their vacation on Zamami Island. The day began quite beautifully; it was a cool, sunny day, but little did they know that it would take a dark turn. As they were beginning to unpack their supplies, they heard a loud crash.

A Chinese tourist visiting the island was riding her bicycle and had to swerve to avoid colliding with a vehicle. She fell off the bicycle and sustained injuries to one side of her body and her head.

The woman had a companion with her, who provided the initial assistance until Kadena's Airmen could help. Pae communicated with the woman as Tufarelli supported the woman, preventing additional injuries and assisting with road burn. Olszewski searched for a method of transportation to get the woman to a medical clinic on the island.

Pae, Tufarelli and Olszewski kept the tourist under their care until she was able to receive medical assistance from the clinic.

Pae commented that some people would just walk by the scene and not provide assistance to the woman.

"That's when we walked in and we were just like: 'Alright, SABC, we got this!'" said Pae. "We just felt like she needed help. Although there was a language barrier, it was kind of difficult, but the other biker kind-of spoke English and had Google translate on her phone, so we just kind-of communicated that way."

Both Pae and Tufarelli said they felt adrenaline as they rushed to help the woman. They also had to recall their SABC training.

"There is a point where you feel like: 'Oh my goodness! I wish I would've experienced this part of my training more.'" said Tufarelli. "But then, there is a part of me that's like: 'This is exactly what they were telling me about; I fully understand what the training was, and without it, I would've had no guidance on what to do.'"

Pae, Tufarelli and Olszewski were so helpful to the woman that she asked if they could come with her to the medical clinic. Olszewski was able to find a moped and he and Pae went to the clinic. Pae was able to use her knowledge of Korean and communicate with the doctor (who knew some Korean language) at the clinic. 

In spite of the language barrier, these Airmen were able to help a Chinese woman and were thanked multiple times for it. She even offered to prepare a meal for them because of the assistance they provided her. 

"It feels awesome," said Pae. "It feels pretty good just knowing: 'Hey, I made a difference.'"