Seven North Dakota National Guard Soldiers came to the rescue of a Washington, D.C.-area woman following a traffic accident last week. According to initial reports, local police and emergency medical technicians say the Soldiers likely helped to save the driver’s life.
By Chaplain (Capt.) Timothy Stout, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
The North Dakota Guardsmen are part of the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment’s yearlong deployment to Washington, D.C., to help protect the nation’s capital. Seven of the Soldiers — Maj. Walyn Vannurden, of Mohall, N.D., 1st Lt. Kerry Fredrich, of Bismarck, N.D., Sgt. Scott Douglas, of Paynesville, Minn., Spc. Mark Kubat, of Oakdale, Minn., Spc. Jesse Goeser, of Hatton, N.D., Spc. Leo Hughes, of Bismarck, and Spc. Tyler Needham, of Devils Lake, N.D. — were returning to their living quarters after the duty day when the accident occurred.
They stopped immediately when they witnessed a vehicle slide out of control in front of them on I-295 North. The Soldiers say they used their military training to provide aid, including turning on hazard lights to warn other vehicles of the wreckage, setting out warning triangles, and searching the area for injured passengers.
When they found the female driver sitting in the ditch, they opened their issued Combat Lifesaver bags and began to provide first aid while reassuring the woman and keeping her warm.
After determining that she was the only victim in the accident and that her wounds were not life threatening, they carefully lifted her out of the ditch, where she had been sitting with her legs in the cold water.
The Soldiers remained with the woman until police and emergency crews arrived on the scene and relieved them of their duty.
National Guard Soldiers are trained and always prepared to render care since they are often called on to respond to natural disasters and local emergencies. The skills and reactions are part of their Army training to ensure a natural response when the need arises, as it did that night.
The seven Soldiers who responded are part of a group of about 200 North Dakota Guardsmen serving in Task Force Artemis as part of the National Capital Region – Integrated Air Defense Systems mission in support of Operation Noble Eagle under the operational control of North American Aerospace Defense Command and Continental NORAD Region.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 4,000 Soldiers and more than 2,400 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 40 North Dakota Guardsmen are serving overseas and more than 200 are on duty in Washington, D.C., and in Texas. With a total force of about 4,400 Guardsmen, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready for stateside response and national defense.
For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.