By 1st Lt. Lauren C. Smith | Command family readiness representative, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Engineer Battalion
FORT CARSON, Colo. — In the late afternoon of April 7, 2020, two Soldiers were winding down from their day. A seemingly normal day for the couple, one was working in his home office while the other grilled dinner outside.
Sgt. Anthony Agcopra, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Engineer Battalion, and his spouse Sgt. Sean Holton, with Division Artillery, 4th Infantry Division, were surprised by a loud noise and screeching of tires outside their home.
Agcopra looked toward the road and saw a truck fly through the air. The vehicle, carried by momentum, turned over several times before stopping right side up approximately 20 yards from the Soldiers’ home. Also alerted by the crash, Holton saw the accident from upstairs.
No stranger to danger, Holton had prior experience as a volunteer firefighter, and Agcopra voluntarily signed on for his last deployment. Both Soldiers have trained and deployed to combat areas, attributing their training and deployments to their rapid reactions on that Tuesday evening.
The two Soldiers jumped into action. Agcopra was the first on the scene to arrive followed by Holton. Having found broken beer bottles strewn about the vehicle, they saw the driver aggressively struggling inside the vehicle.
“Being deployed can better anyone’s reaction time,” Agcopra said. “I don’t feel that’s the case in this situation. You can’t train for these types of scenarios — you just react, doing whatever it takes to help.”
Their military training kicked in and they began to assess the situation. The Soldiers noticed the vehicle was smoking and could combust. As they urged the driver to exit the vehicle, the Soldiers quickly realized the door was jammed. Agcopra and Holton decided to break the remaining glass in the windshield, pulling the driver to safety.
Onlookers called 911 as Holton administered aid using his combat lifesaver skills, and the couple stayed until emergency services arrived.
When asked if they would have done anything differently, the Soldiers agreed their actions, in the heat of the moment, served as the best choices they could make at the time. And the pair agreed — after all was said and done — a man was saved and no one else was injured.
Staff Sgt. Chrystal Schlangen, communications NCO, HHC, 4th Eng. Bn., defined success as being a good person and treating people well. Having known Agcopra for about six months, she correlated his success to his good nature and innate character.
“Sgt. Agcopra always goes above and beyond proving (his success) every day, both on and off duty,” Schlangen said. “He is above all, selfless and caring to all those around him but especially to his team. I couldn’t be more proud to have a dedicated (NCO) on my team.”
The 4th Engineer Battalion and DIVARTY staff had nothing but praises for the Soldiers and their quick actions that fall in line with the 4th Inf. Div. motto of “READY.”
Sgt. 1st Class Felicia Cooper, human resources senior NCO, DIVARTY, has only known Holton for a short time, but in that time, she said he has been an asset to the unit, and is a Soldier who embodies the Army Values and the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer.
“Sgt. Sean Holton is a phenomenal NCO, who during (the accident) executed measures that resulted in him saving a life,” Cooper said. “His quick thinking and combat lifesaving skills allowed him to immediately assess the situation and provide critical first aid care. In both his on- and off-duty conduct, he is a selfless leader and consistently places the needs of others above his own.”
Despite the publicity and pride from each Soldiers’ units, the couple not only remains ready and prepared to spring into action, but are also humble. Both Soldiers agreed publicity is not necessary.
“All we did was what any other Good Samaritan would do,” Holton said. “The first thing on our minds was helping the driver.”