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Moody Airman uses military training to save life

Maj. Michael Warren, 824th Base Defense Squadron commander, pins an achievement medal on Staff Sgt. David Green, 824th BDS fireteam leader, April 10, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Green received the medal for his act of heroism when he helped a trapped victim during an off-base vehicle incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Sprunk)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Warren, 824th Base Defense Squadron commander, pins an achievement medal on Staff Sgt. David Green, 824th BDS fireteam leader, April 10, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Green received the medal for his act of heroism when he helped a trapped victim during an off-base vehicle incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Sprunk)

Maj. Michael Warren, 824th Base Defense Squadron commander, awards Staff Sgt. David Green, 824th BDS fireteam leader, with an achievement medal, April 10, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Green received the medal for his act of heroism when he helped a trapped victim during an off-base vehicle incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Sprunk)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Warren, 824th Base Defense Squadron commander, awards Staff Sgt. David Green, 824th BDS fireteam leader, with an achievement medal, April 10, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Green received the medal for his act of heroism when he helped a trapped victim during an off-base vehicle incident. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Sprunk)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

He was rushing to work when cars suddenly started braking, driving around a car in the middle of the street. On the side of the road he saw an overturned van, the driver still inside. 

Relying on his military training and previous experiences, Staff Sgt. David Green, 824th Base Defense Squadron fireteam leader, leaped out to help the trapped victim, unaware he would soon become that man’s hero. 

“He told me something that will always stick with me,” Green said. “He said that when he saw me in my uniform that day, he instantly knew that he was going to be alright.”

Although he received an achievement medal April 10 for his acts during the off-base vehicle incident, Green said the only reward he needed was knowing the victim was going to be okay.

“You never know when you could be the one [who] needs help, so it’s important to stop and help when someone is in need,” Green added. “It’s essentail for [service members] to step up like this, because it gives the community faith and trust in the military and lets them know the training we do each day really works.”

As Green said he approached the overturned van, he immediately recognized signs of shock in the victim, noting he was disoriented. He also noticed smoke coming from the engine and instructed the victim to turn off his vehicle. Green looked for a way to get him out but realized every entry was blocked.

“I worked with the 23rd Security Forces Squadron as a patrolman for eight years, so during the moment, it felt like I was back at work,” Green said. “However, because I didn’t have my law enforcement gear on, I didn’t have any of the tools that I had been trained to use.”

Forced to improvise, Green said he found a drill that had fallen out of the victim’s van and used it to break the windshield until he could pull the glass back enough for the victim to get out. Once the victim was out, Green began to treat for shock, a skill he learned in self aid buddy care training.

“Because of the military training I’ve been given and the previous experience I’ve had with major accidents, I was relaxed the entire time,” Green said. “I simply saw a problem and knew I needed to solve it.”

After local law enforcement took over and the situation was under control, Green said he pulled the shattered bits of glass out of his hand and went on with his workday as if nothing had happened.

Although the event felt like any other work day according to Green, the victim’s mother was thankful for his brave actions and began searching for her son’s hero. She only knew he was in the Air Force and he had four or five stripes on his insignia, so she turned to social media for assistance in finding him.

“It was so important that I found him to thank him for being there for my son when I couldn’t,” said Laura Sousa, mother of the victim. “I wanted to make sure he knew how much we appreciated him and what an asset he is to not only his country but to his community. He truly is my hero and my son’s guardian angel.”

According to Maj. Christopher Daniels, 824th BDS officer in charge of MedCell, word of Green’s actions spread to his leadership through Sousa’s quest to find him and they felt he should be recognized formally in front of his peers. 

“Green demonstrated service before self by rushing to the aid of someone in need,” Daniels said. “His actions that day were outstanding and set an example for the other members of the 824th BDS.”