Thursday, September 10, 2009

TOP STORY > >Airman provides critical aid under fire

By Airman 1st Class Rochelle Clace
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen have their training put to the test every day, whether it’s by exercise training or real life occurrences. Even when faced with danger, no matter the situation, Airmen will apply their abilities to accomplish their mission.

On Aug. 12, Airman 1st Class Destiney Dowdy, a medic with Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan, Afghanistan, went on a humanitarian mission to give medical attention to women and children at a small Afghan village.

“That day felt very different. My best friend here was supposed to go on the mission with me, but she got sick to her stomach and she didn’t end up going,” she said. “Everyone suspected something to happen so we only stayed at the [Medical Civic Action Program location] for two hours.”

During the return trip to her forward operating base, Airman Dowdy’s skills were put to the test. The vehicle she was riding in on the convoy was struck by a remote-detonated, 150-pound improvised explosive device.

Immediately, her training kicked in, and she sprang into action to save her comrades.

“When we were hit, I immediately told everyone in the truck to sound off,” said Airman Dowdy. “The back doors of the [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicle were jammed, so I climbed out the escape hatch on top of the truck, jumped down and started rendering aid to the three severely injured Soldiers in the truck.”

“I rendered bleeding control with combat gauze and direct pressure and C-spine stabilization. I splinted a broken arm,” she said. “I started IV’s on the patients with morphine. We strapped them to a spine board and loaded them in the helicopter.”

The three injured Soldiers were medically evacuated out of the area, and the remaining servicemembers contacted Explosive Ordnance Disposal as their next appropriate action.

“My training definitely helped me to stay calm,” said Airman Dowdy. “I knew exactly what to do from the combat training I had in San Antonio.”

As a medic, Airman Dowdy had been outside the wire on multiple missions. Some of her responsibilities included taking care of the Soldiers and local Afghani Soldiers at the base, ordering medical supplies and going on convoys and humanitarian missions to provide medical support.

Airman Dowdy will receive the Air Force Combat Action Medal for her bravery and ability to perform her duties in a combat situation.

“I feel pretty special to get this award. I never expected to get it,” she said. “I know it’s a fairly new award, so not many people have it, which makes it more special.”

The leadership here is proud of Airman Dowdy receiving this award.

“Airman Dowdy volunteered for this deployment with the Army not knowing what she was going to be required to do,” said Master Sgt. Shannon McKee, 19th Medical Group, Family Practice Clinic flight chief. “She took her training seriously ... I could not be more proud.”

Airman Dowdy is assigned to the 19th Medical Group as an aerospace medical service journeyman. Her hometown is Russellville, Ark.

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