Training, split-second actions save life

  • Published
  • By 349th AMW Public Affairs staff
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing

“For me, it felt like a split second,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Camales, describing his recent life-saving efforts at a popular lunch spot outside Travis Air Force Base, California.
“I’ve gone through self-aid and buddy care every single time it comes up, and gained the knowledge that I needed to know to perform,” recalled the 349th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron mechanic.”
And perform, this Reserve Citizen Airman did.
Camales and Staff Sgt. Joshua Fowler, also a C-5M Super Galaxy maintainer with the 349th AMXS, were finishing lunch with friends at an off-base establishment when Fowler heard a nearby customer make what sounded to him like choking sounds.
Fowler explained, “I stood up and asked him if he was okay. He gave me the choking sign. I asked him if he wanted our help. He shook his head yes.”
Camales, who was seated closest to the man, jumped up and sprang into action as he administered an abdominal thrust, according to Fowler.
“He did this several times until I heard whatever was lodged in his throat dislodge, and that was it,” said Fowler. “It happened super-fast!”
Fowler turned to Camales and exclaimed, “You just saved someone’s life!”
The Airmen double-checked with the man to make sure he was okay before they departed.
Camales was quite humble about the whole event, explained his fellow wingman. “He doesn’t like a lot of attention on himself,” said Fowler.
With complete confidence, Camales attributes his ability to save the man’s life to his Air Force training.
“There was never a question in my mind that I was not doing it correctly,” he recalled. “I honestly felt like due to my training, I was able to perform [the life-saving maneuvers] to the best of my ability.”
Tactical Combat Casualty Care will replace the current Self-Aid and Buddy Care training in December 2021 as part of the Agile Airman Initiative.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s recent initiative is to develop all Airmen with the ability to provide life-saving care across all spectrums.