JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
Despite an unprecedentedly hot summer and the plume of wildfire smoke that engulfed Anchorage, Alaska, it was a typical work-day for Senior Airman Alaina Armentrout. As a Cryptologic Language Analyst for the 381st Intelligence Squadron, she was helping the Alaska Learning Center prepare lesson materials.
On this particular Monday afternoon, July 8, 2019, Armentrout noticed a civilian contractor in the class had fallen to the floor and was experiencing a violent seizure.
“I was listening to the course material with my headphones on when I heard a loud noise,” Armentrout said. “I immediately looked up and saw him fall face-down.”
Ryan Christian, ALC test administrator, was having a conversation with his fellow instructor, Eric Medley, when he collapsed, falling onto a concrete floor and started convulsing.
Without hesitation, Armentrout, along with Medley sprung to action and pulled the victim away from the wall and nearby objects as he was kicking. The first-term Airman put the victim gently onto one side to help him breathe.
The seizure lasted a little over a minute but she said it felt like an eternity to her. When the victim stopped seizing and his breathing slowed, she thought she had provided all the assistance she needed. But the contractor stopped breathing within seconds, and Armentrout swiftly and carefully began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“He was slowly breathing, and on his last breath, he suddenly stopped,” Armentrout said. “I instantly started CPR and within five to 10 chest compressions, he started breathing again.”
Due to the self-aid buddy care Armentrout learned in high school and the Tactical Combat Casualty Care from the Air Force, the victim regained consciousness.
Once the victim became stable, the Salisbury, MO native, carefully monitored his status and provided additional first-aid to impact wounds sustained during the initial fall until the medical first responder arrived at the scene.
“I feel like I’ve been prepared for this situation,” Armentrout said. “I always ask myself what you would do in this kind of situation, and it worked out well because I knew exactly what I needed to do.”
Other members were also there to assist – Air Force Staff Sgt. Volodymyr Palko stayed on the phone with the first responder and moved obstacles out of the way for the emergency medical services team; Airman 1st Class Jackson Self provided first aid until the paramedics arrived.
Christian added that if it were it not for quick thinking personnel, he may not be here today to tell his story.
“I fully credit these personnel from the 373rd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group for saving my life,” Christian said. “Saying thank you from the bottom of my heart (literally) is not enough for what they have done for me and my family.”