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Wingmanship saves a life

81st RCS Airmen recieve coin

From left, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Marlowe Crawford, 81st Range Control Squadron interface control technician, Senior Airman Alton Preston and Senior Airman Mason Renberg, 81st RCS live technicians, and Staff Sgt. Maria Snyder, 81st RCS weapons director, smile for a group photo at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, July 9, 2018. The Airmen were coined by Col. Lance A. Wilkins, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group commander, for their wingmanship. The Airmen depicted helped a fellow Airman receive life-saving care after complications arose from a surgical procedure to remove her wisdom teeth. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaiah J. Soliz)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

As new recruits in Basic Military Training, Airmen are taught the concept of wingmanship. Everywhere they go, they cannot leave their wingman behind; recruits march together, eat together and even sleep together. Wingmanship is the cornerstone of Air Force core values.

In a deployed environment, Airmen understand that having a wingman can mean the difference between life and death. However, unforeseeable life-threatening events are plausible, even for Airmen stationed stateside.

For one Tyndall Airman, a routine procedure took an unexpected turn.

“Around 10 o’clock, we went to get her wisdom teeth taken out,” said Airman 1st Class Marlowe Crawford, 81st Range Control Squadron interface control technician. “She seemed fine after the surgery and I stayed with her until about 3 o’clock [in the afternoon].”

Crawford administered the proper medication to his wingman before momentarily leaving to go to the gym. At approximately eight o’clock that night he returned to check up on her.

“She was laying down and I felt her forehead and noticed she felt warm,” Crawford noted. “So, I went back off base to get a thermometer.”

Upon his return, another Airman informed Crawford that his wingman was vomiting and didn’t appear to look well.

“I stayed with her throughout the night,” Crawford said. “I helped her stay hydrated and assisted her if she needed it.”

As the night went on her condition seemed to be improving, Crawford added.

Early the next morning, prior to reporting in for the day, Crawford informed his leadership of the Airman’s ill health.

After being notified that he didn’t have to report in for duty until 11 a.m., Crawford used the spare time to continue caring for his wingman.

“I made use of that time by going to the [base exchange] to grab an ice pack because by that time the swelling became significant,” Crawford said.

When Crawford visited the recovering Airman, he helped her apply the ice pack to the swollen area.

Shortly thereafter, the Airman started to get ready for the day. However, her poor state of health became apparent when she lost consciousness.

“I didn’t really think at that point, it was all instinct,” Crawford said.

Crawford contacted his leadership to apprise them of the Airman’s fainting spell.

Senior Airman Mason Renberg and Senior Airman Alton Preston, 81st RCS live technicians, offered to help transport her to the hospital since it was time for Crawford to report to the base honor guard.

“Shortly afterwards, they pulled up so I was able to carry her outside and assist her into the vehicle,” Crawford said.

Upon arrival to the hospital, Renberg hurried out of the car to grab a wheelchair. Preston searched for a parking spot while Renberg rushed the ill Airman into the emergency room, Preston explained.

“By the time I found a parking spot and went back inside, she was already being cared for by the medical staff,” Preston said.

With her blood pressuring dropping, she was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit.

“The Airman’s condition when she was admitted to the hospital was very grave,” said Staff Sgt. Danielle Bradford, 81st RCS weapons director. “After being evaluated in the ER, she was admitted to the ICU due to her going into septic shock.”

The wingmanship displayed by the Airman’s coworkers helped her to receive the life-saving care she needed.

“The Airman is doing much better,” Bradford explained. “I am so glad that Airman 1st Class Crawford went to go check on her again. I do not want to think about what would have happened if he didn't. Senior Airman Renberg and Senior Airman Preston definitely stepped up and were there for their fellow Airman in a time of need. High respect for these men.”