The scene was straight from our worst nightmares. Last Friday, a terrorist boarded a crowded French train carrying an AK-47 and enough ammunition to kill dozens. His fellow passengers had no weapons. When he opened fire, the personnel responsible for the train fled, barricading themselves inside an engine car. But three Americans — one national guardsman, one airman, and one college senior — didn’t hesitate. The guardsman, Alek Skarlatos, called out “Let’s go, go!” and they charged. His friend, Airman First Class Spencer Stone, reached the gunman first, tackling him. The gunman fought back with a box cutter, nearly severing Stone’s thumb and slashing his neck.
But by that time, help had arrived. Skarlatos started beating the terrorist with his own weapon, college senior Anthony Sadler piled on, and a British man, Chris Norman, overcame his own initial instinct to hide and joined the fight. Together they subdued the attacker, hogtying him facedown on the ground. But Stone wasn’t finished. Though bleeding profusely himself, he gave immediate first aid to an injured passenger, clamping down on a severed artery and holding it until doctors arrived.
This is why training is awesome.
We did “Mass Casualties” at pretty much every single duty station I was at– oddly, I was almost always put in the sensible place of being the person who put bandages on wounds, since I’m not big enough to haul most anybody anywhere.
When my then-not-quite-two daughter split her head open, I went into automatic– and did what I’d been taught.