Former Army medic saves child
By Brandon Honig, Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs
/ Published December 15, 2009
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For Staff Sgt. Kim Ramirez, 129th Rescue Wing still photographer, the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., was an unfamiliar place to hear a familiar call.
She instantly turned and ran, not knowing what emergency could be drawing a crowd on the other side of the memorial, where she was escorting World War II veterans who had been flown to Washington by the nonprofit Honor Flight Network.
"My first thought was that one of the gentlemen had fallen," she said. "Then I was running, and I saw my instructor holding a little girl."
The little girl was the 18-month-old great-granddaughter of one of the World War II veterans who was taking an Honor Flight tour. The Honor Flight Network flies veterans to Washington to tour memorials for wars in which they fought. Priority is given to senior veterans and those who are terminally ill.
"My instructor said he had tried something [to revive the girl]. ... I saw she was completely green and purple," Sergeant Ramirez remembered. "I've had to give CPR twice before, so I just pulled her out of his arms, and after that, it's like the movies: Everything got quiet and [I] just focused on the little girl."
Sergeant Ramirez, who was an Army medic for nine years before joining the California Air National Guard last year, administered CPR until paramedics arrived, then she gave them a report and quietly stepped away. The next day, Sergeant Ramirez learned the young girl had experienced a febrile seizure due to an ear infection but would fully recover, largely because of the former medic's quick action.
Sergeant Ramirez, who was in the Washington area attending a Defense Information School course for her new military occupational specialty as a photographer, was bestowed the Joint Service Achievement Medal for providing emergency care that contributed to the child's recovery.
"Using her experience as a former Army medic, she expertly assumed control of the situation and administered rescue breathing after care provided by other service members failed to help the child," the citation states. "Her actions directly contributed to the stabilization and recovery of the child and fostered a positive image of Defense Information School and the military community in a high-profile environment.
"Through her distinctive actions, Staff Sergeant Ramirez reflected credit upon herself, the United States Air National Guard, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense."