Heroic RAF Mildenhall airmen’s first aid work helps save man’s life
Two humble airmen from RAF Mildenhall are being hailed as heroes after helping to save the life of a man they spotted unconscious in the street.
Staff Sgts Scott Caldwell and Blake Broekhove, of 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, performed life-saving CPR on the man after they noticed him lying motionless in a residential Mildenhall road.
They were on their way to Chicksands Bike Park, in Bedfordshire, on August 15 when they came across the unresponsive man.
Sgt Caldwell said: “I really didn’t know what happened – I just knew something was wrong. We did what I would hope anyone else would do.”
He added: “There was no thinking. Everything just happened and we reacted.”
The pair stopped their car and rushed to the man’s body, asking him questions to try to get a response while directing an onlooker to dial 999.
“I checked his pulse and he had none. Not only that, but he was cold,” Sgt Broekhove said. “I immediately thought the worst. I thought he was gone.”
The airmen put their military Self Aid Buddy Care skills to work to perform CPR. Sgt Broekhove gave the man chest compressions, singing Staying Alive in his head to keep the rate steady, while Sgt Caldwell gave rescue breaths.
After 15 minutes of CPR, during which the man’s only response was gasping breaths, an ambulance arrived. Paramedics instructed the pair to continue CPR while they prepared their kit.
A second ambulance soon arrived with police cars and an air ambulance.
Once the man, now breathing on his own, was taken to the air ambulance and police began to clear the area, Sgts Broekhove and Caldwell carried on to the bike park.
Sgt Broekhove said: “We were pretty uneasy for the rest of the weekend. We didn’t know if he had made it or not.”
Unable to shake the man from their minds, the airmen sought out his family and discovered he had recovered, also receiving gifts and expressions of gratitude for their heroic actions.
Witnesses later explained the man had been riding his bicycle around the corner when he collapsed, knocking his head on a concrete wall before falling to the pavement.
One of the first responders on the scene said: “Their actions showed courage. It was a real team effort between the US Air Force personnel and the East of England Ambulance service crew.”