Marines save a life
MCAS New River
Story by Cpl. Ted A. Macdonald

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2006) -- Two Marines from Marine Medium Helicopter Training Squadron-302 got a chance to use some of the first aid skills they learned in boot camp to save a young man’s life, Jan. 14.

Marine Corporals David R. Salmonsen and David K. Fontenot were in Greenville S.C. on that rainy evening, not to be heroes, just to enjoy a little rest and relaxation. They got more than they bargained for.

Salmonsen and Fontenot were in a taxi waiting to be transported to their hotel when they noticed a group of people standing around a prone figure near the sidewalk. The two Marines jumped out of the taxi to render assistance.

“Everybody was kind of standing around, confused,” Fontenot said.

One of the bystanders told them that the injured man had been exiting his friend’s car when another vehicle struck him and sped off.

“The man was unconscious and bleeding from the back, it also appeared that one of his arms was seriously injured, it looked nearly amputated,” Salmonsen said. “We basically began to run through the lifesaving steps we learned in boot camp.”

They attempted to stop the bleeding with direct pressure but when that didn’t work, the Marines took the next step. “Fontenot took off his belt and I made the tourniquet and the flow of blood began to slacken. The guy started shaking real bad so we tried to treat him for shock.”

As Fontenot kept the man’s face and airways clear of blood, Salmonsen asked the bystanders for clothes to cover the man. After about 10 minutes of tending to the injured man, emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene and took over.

The two Marines, who have been close friends for the past two and a half years, were in the right place at the right time. According to the hospital staff, if the man’s loss of blood had not been stopped in a timely manner he would almost certainly have died.