Section commander awarded Airman's Medal

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --  A Tyndall lieutenant, who risked her life to save others, was awarded the Airman's Medal here Tuesday. 
   
While on her way home from work Nov. 7, 2005, 2nd Lt. Shannon Bancroft, 325th Maintenance Operations Squadron section commander, was the first to take action at the scene of a four-car accident on Highway 231 in Panama City. 
   
"I have done it before and it is something I would do again," she said, referring to the aid she provided an injured victim at the scene. 
   
The Airman's Medal is awarded to Airmen who distinguish themselves by performing a heroic act not involving combat, which may put their lives at risk. 
   
"I understand the stature that comes with this medal," said Lieutenant Bancroft. "I am also very humbled because I could never leave or walk away from a situation where somebody was hurt and needed help. I only did what came naturally.  I appreciate that others see what I did as brave, but for me, I did what seemed right and didn't think twice about it." 
   
The accident in November was the fourth accident Lieutenant Bancroft has responded to in her lifetime, and she has risen to the challenge every time. 
   
The Cedar Grove police department lauded the lieutenant for her efforts stating that it was a "brave" act pulling someone from a gas and smoke-filled car. 
   
"A lot of times people won't get involved," said Lt. Bern Snell, a Cedar Grove police officer who responded to the accident. "We appreciate what she did, and I know the woman (she saved) appreciated it." 
   
After witnessing the accident, Lieutenant Bancroft immediately established contact with a woman trapped in her smoke-filled car. She assessed the woman's injuries and helped keep her calm. She also assisted the on-scene police officer with getting everyone away from the car in case the leaking gasoline caught fire. The passenger-side door was then pried open, and the woman was pulled from the car. 
   
"The trunk was in the front seat and the engine was in the dash (board)," said the lieutenant. "It was a four-door, but it looked like a two-door car when I got there. I hated to pull her from the car with a possible back injury, but with gasoline pouring over my feet, I didn't have a choice." 
   
Once the paramedics arrived, they asked Lieutenant Bancroft to continue assisting the woman while they assessed the other accident victims. 
   
Since the day of the accident, the survivor and the lieutenant have kept in touch. 
   
"I kept in contact with her and her husband for about a month after the accident until I knew she was going to be alright," she said. "When I would talk to her it was pretty emotional, but I am so grateful she's healthy and able to recover from her injuries. She always referred to me as her angel, which was very humbling as well."