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Face of Defense: Soldier Puts Training to Work to Save Woman's Life

By Army Sgt. David Vermilyea, 173rd Airborne Brigade

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VICENZA, Italy, Sept. 21, 2017 — Monte Berico, a steep hill situated in the heart of Vicenza, houses an elegant historic church that attracts numerous local residents and tourists because of the grand cityscape view it offers. For 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team soldiers, the hill signifies the destination for a refreshing, yet arduous, run through scenic Vicenza during physical training.

Army Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineering Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, inspects his unit's equipment, Sept. 8 2017. Army photo by Sgt. David Vermilyea
Army Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineering Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, inspects his unit's equipment, Sept. 8 2017. Army photo by Sgt. David Vermilyea
Army Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineering Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, inspects his unit's equipment, Sept. 8 2017. Army photo by Sgt. David Vermilyea Sgt. Rogers inspects equipment
Army Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineering Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy, inspects his unit's equipment, Sept. 8 2017. Army photo by Sgt. David Vermilyea

But after Army Sgt. Kyle Martin Rogers, an unmanned aircraft systems repairer from Delta Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, completed that run Aug. 31, he went above and beyond the call of duty by saving a local Italian woman's life.

Rogers prepared for the 5.5-mile run as usual, stretching his limbs and joints and priming his brain for endurance. The task was called the "Danger Run," after the company moniker -- an event akin to a scavenger hunt in which the participants run to various locations and complete specific tasks at each one. Once given the nod that they completed the mission, they continued to the next destination.

After Rogers and his team successfully completed all the events, they reached the city's train station, which functions as one of the route's pivotal milestones because it precedes the challenging incline. He ascended until he surmounted the hill, where his vehicle was staged for his return to base.

Once he finished congratulating his fellow soldiers for their hard work, he hopped into his car and started down the hill. It was near the same train station he passed moments before that he stopped at a crosswalk, letting an Italian lady cross the street. She took a few steps into the crosswalk, then unexpectedly collapsed on the unforgiving asphalt in what later proved to be an epileptic seizure. Foam collected on both sides of her mouth, and her body convulsed violently as onlookers watched the scene unfold.

"No one reacted," Rogers said. "They moved slowly, and everyone looked confused."

Providing First Aid

Rogers got out of his vehicle to administer first aid. He sprinted to the woman and shifted her purse up to her head to act as a pillow. He rolled her onto her side in the recovery position to clear her airway, allowing the woman to breathe.

"I cleared her throat because she was convulsing at the mouth," Rogers said. "I used the purse because her head was bouncing on the ground, and I stabilized her until the Italian police showed up as well as a San Bortolo nurse. Within 10 to 15 minutes, the paramedics showed up."

Emergency medical services took over from there. They gathered blood samples, inserted an intravenous line and placed the woman on a stretcher. She regained consciousness as she was being transferred to the ambulance that transported her to the hospital.

Rogers' platoon leader, Army 1st Lt. Carlos Omar Flores, said Rogers' ability to react properly should come as no surprise.

"Our soldiers are all trained, and when put in that scenario, the training will kick in and their quick reaction will save lives," Flores said.