144th Airman A Holiday Hero

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christian Jadot
  • 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
It is not every day that a servicemember can put his Self-Aid and Buddy Care training to the test. Many people would be happy to never use it in a real life situation. For Senior Airman Scott Calhoun (now a Staff Sgt.) his training kicked in, and he saved another person's life.

On December 21, Airman Calhoun was on Christmas vacation with his girlfriend and relatives in San Diego, Calif.

"I was looking out over the bay admiring the cityscape of down town San Diego when I noticed something floating in the water that seemed out of place," Airman Calhoun said. "I watched it for a minute when suddenly the floating object moved slightly and made a gasping sound that was accompanied by a gurgling. At that moment I knew it had to be a person in the water and he needed help."

Calhoun said he had to take action.

"A crowd of people were watching, and something had to be done," Airman Calhoun said. "I leaped over the railing and dropped down the wall that separated the hotel from the bike path. I took off my sweat shirt and yelled out to the people watching to call 911."

He rushed into the water to retrieve the victim.

"I swam out to the man who was floating approximately 40 yards from the shore," Calhoun said. "When I reached him, he was cold, blue, and unresponsive. I grabbed him by his collar and dragged him back to shore."
He started administering aid to the victim once he got him to shore.

"When I felt for a pulse, he spit up water and asked me if he was in heaven," Airman Calhoun said. "It was a great feeling knowing he was alive."

Loretta Marean assisted Airman Calhoun to treat the victim for hypothermia. Marean is Calhoun's girlfriend's mother who was on vacation with them.

"I used my sweatshirt to dry and warm him by placing it between his body and his clothes," Calhoun said. "I called out to have towels from the hotel's pool area brought to the man. I did not want to move him too much, in case he had jumped from a bridge into the water and sustained spinal damage. I elevated his feet, kept him verbally engaged in positive conversation and warmed his body with towels when they came."

The emergency medical service arrived on scene and took over the scene and transported the patient to the local hospital.

"When the adrenaline wore off I realized I was wet and freezing, I did not even think of it at the time," Airman Calhoun said. He thanked his Self-Aid and Buddy Care training for his reaction to the situation.

"It made me feel well trained, with moments like that you don't have an Airman's Manual to refer to," Calhoun said. "You don't have time to think about it, you just do it. The only thing I can attribute that to is my training.

I am glad I was able to do the right thing at the right time and help out someone who needed it."