HomeNewsArticle Display

Guardsman Puts Newly Acquired Training to Test

Lincoln, Neb. -- Senior Airman Luis A. Zendejas-Garcia was driving home May 17 after completing Airman Leadership School where he learned management and leadership skills to be successful in his career. Little did he know he would have to put those newly used skills to work during that drive.

Zendejas-Garcia, a food operations journeyman assigned with the 155th Force Support Squadron was near the Wyoming-Nebraska border when he saw two cars in the left lane of Interstate-80. He was traveling about 50 feet behind them in the right lane. What happened next would test all the training Zendejas-Garcia has received in his military career.

"After one car cut off the other car and got control again, they were both driving normal," said Zendejas-Garcia. "One car swerved to the left and turned a hard right to get back on the road but after that the car went straight across the road, hit a bank and overturned."
As the other car continued, Zendejas-Garcia pulled over to try to offer help.

"I didn't know what to expect when I opened the door," said Zendejas-Garcia.
Inside the car he found a 78-year old male. Although the car was upside down he seemed to be okay.

"I made sure he was conscious and helped him situate himself in a more comfortable position," said Zendejas-Garcia. "I didn't want to move him much in case he had any injuries because he talked about some shoulder pain."

Finally the driver of the other car pulled over to see what was going on. It turned out to be a Navy Sailor on leave. The Sailor called the emergency services, while Zendejas-Garcia provided care to the driver.

"The emergency services told me to stabilize his head, so he wouldn't move it while the ambulance was on its way," said Zendejas-Garcia.

The ambulance came minutes later. The paramedics asked Zendejas-Garcia if he could help assist them even further.

All the training he's learned from his time in the Guard and the most recent leadership training from ALS helped him kick into high gear and do the right thing.

"Once we got him on the stretcher, everything went back to my Self-Aid Buddy Care training I learned," said Zendejas-Garcia. "The whole keeping someone conscious and making sure you don't move them if something hurts."

Self-Aid Buddy Care is training the Air Force has to complete at minimum every 24 months in order to learn basic life support and limb-saving techniques to help wounded or injured personnel survive in medical emergencies until medical help is available.

"I'm sure if I didn't have my Self-Aid Buddy Care training that I learned from being in the Guard I wouldn't have known what to do and probably would have tried to get him out of the car," said Zendejas-Garcia.

"I never thought I would have to use different Air Force training in the real world," added Zendejas-Garcia.

Conveniently for the man driving the crashed car the 155th FSS completed their Self-Aid Buddy Care training just two months prior to his accident and situations like this go a long way in validating the training.

"As a commander, it's great to see that the Airmen are learning from the training and are able to apply it whether that it is for the Guard or in their civilian life," said Capt. Pamelia J. Geistlinger, commander of 155th FSS.

"Airmen Garcia is a great influence and role model to the squadron," added Geistlinger. "He goes above and beyond whatever he is asked to do."

Even though Zendejas-Garcia wasn't in uniform when this all happened, he still felt a sense of pride for being in the military and using what he has been taught and said he was only doing what anyone else would do.

"I don't think with the way publishing is these days, this is very story worthy," said Zendejas-Garcia. "I was doing the right thing by stopping and helping someone."

And although Zendejas-Garcia is humble about his actions that day it could have been much different for the driver of that car if Zendejas-Garcia hadn't stopped to help. Zendejas-Garcia's military experience was evident to the first responders.

"It was a great honor to help this man out," said Zendejas-Garcia. "The paramedics and emergency service members could all tell I was in the military by the way I handled the situation and that made me feel great."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.