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1st SOMXS Airman employs CPR to save a life

An Air Commando practices chest compressions on a CPR dummy at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 22, 2016. The 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron has 80 CPR instructors who teach close to 240 classes a year, which certifies nearly 350 individuals every quarter. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

An Air Commando practices chest compressions on a CPR dummy at Hurlburt Field, Fla., July 22, 2016. The 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron has 80 CPR instructors who teach close to 240 classes a year, which certifies nearly 350 individuals every quarter. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrea Posey)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla --

It was a beautiful day July 3 in Dauphin Island, Alabama, the sun was bright, and the temperature was just right for a relaxing at the beach. However, the peace was suddenly broken when a woman’s screams filled the air.

Tech. Sgt. Jason Mayfield, NCO in charge of aircraft structural maintenance with the 1st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, was on leave with family and friends when he heard the panicked screams of Priscilla Wright when her husband, Gary Wright, collapsed. Reacting immediately, Mayfield ran down the beach to help.

When Mayfield arrived on scene, Gary was slumped over in his beach chair, unresponsive. Seeing the seriousness of the situation, the Alabama native reacted quickly and rolled the man out of his chair and onto his back to check for a pulse and signs of breathing. Finding no response, Mayfield yelled for his wife to call 911 and began chest compressions. Within 20 to 30 seconds, Gary started breathing again.

“I was a bit panicked once I arrived on scene,” Mayfield said. “But as soon as I saw the severity of the situation, I collected myself and let everything I had been taught take over.”

While he administered CPR, emergency medical technicians arrived on scene. Later, after referring to Gary’s pacemaker analytics, paramedics found the man had been dead for close to 45 seconds before being resuscitated.

Mayfield said after the crisis had ended and her husband was revived, Priscilla was very thankful and told him she wouldn't have known what to do in that situation.

The NCO received his CPR training from the Maintenance Operations Flight in February of 2016 as a bi-annual two-year requirement for his career field. He credits his success in this type of emergency situation to this training.

The 1st Special Operations Medical Group has 80 CPR instructors who teach approximately 240 classes per year. Nearly 350 individuals on base are certified in this life saving course every quarter. Staff Sgt. Rebecca Manos, 1st Special Operations Wing basic life support program director, said CPR training is important because the sooner intervention is applied during a cardiac arrest greatly increases the chance of survival.

“We teach everything step-by-step and make sure [our students] are comfortable before they leave the class,” Manos said. “We teach a lot of classes, and it doesn’t really sink in until something is used in a real life situation - it feels awesome to know our training helped save someone’s life.”

Mayfield’s supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Duggan, assistant fabrication flight chief from the 1st SOMXS, believes his Airman demonstrated the Air Force’s core values “integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do” when he willingly helped a stranger.

“He didn't have to do this; it's not his job, but he had the training and reached out to someone in need,” Duggan said. “He could have very easily turned his head the other way and never looked back, but that is not in Jason. He is the guy you want on your side when you are in need.”

For his efforts, Mayfield is being considered for an achievement medal.