Deployed officer comes to aid of coalition partner

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
An Air Force officer came to the aid of a Coalition partner who suffered a seizure after falling at Kabul International Airport, Feb. 18.

Air Force Capt. William Boland, force support adviser with the 439th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, said he was on his lunch break when he noticed a runner slip and fall to the ground. The runner hit his head on the pavement during the fall and got up to lean against a building. The captain recognized that something was wrong.

"A few years ago I had a friend suffer a seizure," he said. "I recognized that the Coalition member was in a similar state. If he would have suffered a seizure while standing he could have seriously injured himself."

Boland said he also drew on training received throughout his Air Force career. The captain quickly helped the victim to the ground into the recovery position. He wanted to make sure the runner didn't swallow his tongue and was able to eject any fluids out of his mouth safely.

Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Jacobson, 439th AEAS commander, assisted the captain during the incident.

"It was cool to watch him recognize the issue and deal with it immediately," he said. "He was very decisive in what he did and showed genuine care for somebody he didn't even know."

Boland said one of the main things he wanted to do after getting the victim into position was to ensure the crowd that was gathering at the scene remained under control.

"You have to remain calm during a situation like that," Boland said. "If you panic it can cause other people to panic."

After the victim finished the seizure, the captain assessed him to check his condition.

"When he came to, we asked him questions to make sure he had his cognitive abilities," said Boland. "He answered the questions well, but seemed very confused about what happened."

Even though the Coalition partner insisted he felt fine, the captain helped him walk to the medical clinic to get checked out.

Jacobson said that a few people just walked by the victim before Boland came to his aid. He said the captain showed a great awareness about what was going on around him.

"People have limited time at lunch and are often more worried about taking care of their business," he said. "It was great that he was more interested in helping someone else."

Boland, a native of Chicago, said he has been in Afghanistan for 11 months and it has been an interesting tour. He said he was glad he was in a position to help the seizure victim.

"With this kind of training you never know when you may need to use it," he said. "It was great that I was able to draw on it in a situation like that."