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Face of Defense: NCO Saves Lives With First-responder Skills

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike
47th Flying Training Wing

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Feb. 20, 2014 – A noncommissioned officer assigned here used his first-responder skills while on leave Jan. 29 to aid in rescuing two people after their truck crashed in Bracketville, Texas.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Buss poses for a photo next to his motorcycle on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 5, 2014. Buss played a major role in the rescue of two people after their truck crashed. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Buss, the 47th Flying Training Wing’s acting director for equal opportunity, said he simply did what most people would have done in the same situation -- he helped.

"I had just picked my kids up from school and was heading home when I saw the truck beside the creek,” Buss said. “I immediately pulled over, told my kids to stay put and got to the scene of the wreckage."

Buss, who had been a first responder before joining the Air Force, assessed the situation quickly and began to take action.

"The truck was smashed up pretty good, especially on the passenger side," he said. "I had to leg press the driver-side door open far enough for us to pull the driver out so we could focus on the passenger. The driver was definitely doing better than the passenger, but still really bad."

In a matter of minutes after arriving, Buss had helped the driver out of the truck, ensured he was put in a safe and comfortable position so he would not hurt himself further, then Buss climbed through the truck’s back window to help the passenger.

"The passenger was on the side with the most damage and had a few broken bones, along with other injuries," he said. "He was also pinned, so the fire department would have to use the Jaws of Life to get him out. I held his head … to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself, and talked to him to calm him down and take his mind off of the accident."

Buss said he started by testing the passenger's short-term memory by asking him if he knew where they were. "After a few failed questions relating to short-term memory, I focused on his long term," he added. "I got his name and where he was from, which was good."

Paramedics soon arrived and continued to assess the passenger's condition. Shortly after, the fire department arrived and was ready to use a hydraulic device to free the passenger from the wreckage.

"For the fire department to use the Jaws of Life, the windows needed to be busted out," Buss said. "One of the firemen gave me a blanket to put over the passenger to keep glass shards from hitting him. I put it over him and turned my face away from the window to protect myself from the glass. I wasn't worried about myself, because it was all about the passenger at this point."

The 47th Flying Training Wing’s director of staff praised Buss for his quick thinking.

"Buss' actions are indicative of his training, competency, and most importantly, his character," Air Force Col. Joshua Lechowick said. "We are extremely proud of what he's done and are thankful that he was there when someone was in need."


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