Deployed NG Airmen act quickly to help injured Japanese civilian

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Agile Combat Employment (ACE) is a concept the U.S. Air Force uses to train multiple-role capable Airmen that possess the flexibility to adjust to ever changing mission needs. Yet for some Airmen, they may bring valuable skills obtained outside of military service, providing unexpected abilities in a time of need.

On the morning of August 10, 2022, a collision between a Japanese driver and a Japanese motorcyclist occurred just outside the Yokota Air Base flight terminal gate during morning rush hour. Two deployed California Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 374th Readiness and Emergency management Flight observed the crash and immediately responded to the scene.

“We were in front of our building when everyone ran out saying a crash just happened,” said Senior Airman Robert Scruggs, 129th Rescue Wing Emergency Management specialist. “My coworker Pranay and I look at each other and he said, ’we do this at our regular jobs all the time’ and just like that we were in work-mode and ran out there to help.”

The Airmen acted quickly to assess the incident, moved the Japanese civilians to safety and cleared the road, then assessed injuries and performed stabilizing care with medical kits they kept on them while waiting for additional help to arrive.

“This is a familiar environment for us, so it wasn’t a question of if we should help, it was automatic,” said Senior Airman Pranay Manghirmalani, 129th Rescue Wing Emergency Management apprentice. “We’ve both responded to situations like this one in our civilian jobs many times, so we meshed easily to provide first aid, got a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Airman to help us translate, and we just took charge of the scene.”

Higher level responders arrived within 30 minutes of the crash and the Airmen successfully communicated transfer of care instructions to arriving Japanese paramedics, giving them a list of injuries and treatments they performed to save time in providing additional care.
Scruggs serves as a firefighter with the Fire Protection District in Boulder Creek, California, and Manghirmalani is an engineer with the CA Department of Forestry and Fire Protection when not serving in military uniform. Their civilian professions granted them extensive experience as first responders, providing stabilizing medical care, and motor vehicle collision response.

The U.S. Air Force is a Total Force team with the Guard and Reserve components, as these auxiliary forces provide unique capabilities, skills, and experience from civilian jobs, allowing for a more capable force at home and a more lethal force in contested environments abroad.

“Air National Guardsmen come from diverse backgrounds and bring those skills with them,” Master Sgt. Derek White, 175th Wing Emergency Management NCOIC for deployed Air National Guard forces. “Those multi-capable skills, that ACE concept, really paid off here because these two Airmen didn’t hesitate to act on using those extra skills to help save a life. All it took was a look and ’let’s get to work’.”