By Army Sgt. Alexis Washburn-Jasinski
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Editors note: For the security of the Special Forces Soldiers, no names are used.
STUTTGART, Germany — If someone collapsed in front of you, how would you react? Would you know what to do? What if someone was having a heart attack?
The American Heart Association states that in 2017 only 46 percent of individuals who experienced an episode of cardiac arrest received assistance from a bystander. A person’s ability to act quickly when a situation arises can be the difference between life and death.
For U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Panzer Kaserne, Germany, these split-second decisions are not limited to the battlefield.
When a 56-year-old local German collapsed Dec. 11, 2018, while entering the food court at Patch Barracks, Vaihingen, two senior Special Operation Forces enlisted Soldiers and a civilian first responder came to the woman’s aid.
The woman had no pulse so they performed CPR. In addition to CPR, it became necessary to use defibrillation. They delivered two shocks, continued CPR and the woman’s pulse returned. After a few intense moments she regained responsiveness and the Soldiers passed care to German Emergency Medical Services.
Earlier this fall, another 10th SFG(A) Soldier was out for a drive near Panzer when he came upon a group of people standing around a woman lying on the ground, not moving. Without hesitation he stopped his car and got out.
Like many of the U.S. military stationed in Germany, the Soldier had both the experience and training necessary to respond to the situation. He quickly determined the woman was not breathing, then proceeded to perform CPR until she began breathing and became responsive.
“The language barrier made it hard to determine exactly what was going on,” said the Soldier.
In summer 2017, another Special Forces Soldier stepped in during an obstacle race when he saw a German man collapse shortly into the race.
“I was conducting a 10K obstacle race near Schwabisch Hall with my children,” the Soldier said. “I felt it was my obligation to help others in need.”
The Green Beret quickly took charge of the situation. With years of military medical experience and training, the Soldier led a team of five German responders through CPR for 30 minutes until a medical helicopter arrived on scene to evacuate. The Soldier then handed over care to the German flight doctor.
The German citizen survived and after a full recovery, the two were able to meet this past October.
“Like all Soldiers, our Special Operators are highly trained and ready to respond in times of need, whether that is deployed forward in service to their nation, or here within the Stuttgart community alongside our Deutschen Nachbaren,” said the battalion command sergeant major.