97 CES firefighters recognized for life saving efforts

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Miyah Gray
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Six Airmen assigned to the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) Fire and Emergency Services Flight were presented life-saving awards signed by Jeffery Wagner, Air Force fire chief, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Jan. 13, 2022.

The recipients were: Staff Sgt. Charles Loicano, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maher, Airman 1st Class Austin Jolly, Airman 1st Class Joshua Turner, Airman First Class Matyas King and Mr. Marco Nava.

This is the 97th CES Fire Emergency Services Flight’s first time being presented with an Air Force level award.

The Airmen were recognized for reviving a 78-year-old victim with the use of an automated external defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The first responder on scene was Tech. Sgt. Bryan Haerer, 97th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, who performed solo CPR until the Fire and Emergency Services team arrived on site.

Once the firemen reached the scene, they performed CPR for approximately 25 minutes until an ambulance arrived.

“As soon as we got to the call, my training immediately kicked in,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Loicano, 97th CES lead firefighter. “There was no hesitation, no one skipped a beat; we went straight into what we were taught to do.”

Once stable, the victim was transported to Jackson County Memorial Hospital.

“Dialing 911 and knowing the importance and the impact that it can have on the response to the scene is a really big deal," said Loicano.

Loicano said that it’s important to always remember your training.

“It was nice to go in and not necessarily have to think about what I was doing, it was kind of like an instinct,” said Airman 1st Class Austin Jolly, 97th CES firefighter. “This was my first major medical call and my training definitely came in handy.”

Col. David Vanderburg, 97th Mission Support Group commander, said that he was proud to be able to issue these awards. 

“This was a phenomenal achievement,'' said Vanderburg. “There’s nothing more important than saving a life.”