HomeNewsArticle Display

45th Space Wing member helps auto accident victims

Maj. Michael Coyle, 45th Operations Support Squadron, Airfield Operations Flight Commander, helped victims of an auto accident July 29, when he was driving to Orlando International Airport. (Courtesy photo)

Maj. Michael Coyle, 45th Operations Support Squadron, Airfield Operations Flight Commander, helped victims of an auto accident July 29, when he was driving to Orlando International Airport. (Courtesy photo)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Helping a Wingman may come when you least expect it.

Maj. Michael Coyle, 45th Operations Support Squadron, Airfield Operations Flight Commander, was driving to Orlando International Airport July 29 when he came upon the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident in the oncoming lanes of State Route 528.

He pulled over his vehicle immediately when he saw no emergency responders had arrived yet, ran to and assessed the scene, then rendered aid to the most seriously injured, a man and woman who were still inside one of the cars. The man was pinned in the passenger seat, and Major Coyle opened a rear door with a crowbar and aided him and the woman until emergency personnel arrived and took over.

Major Coyle was in uniform, and others on scene looked to him for leadership and direction.

"As people arrived, a guy with a truck was wondering if we should wait for emergency responders to get there first," he said. "He asked me if we should pry it open. 'Yes, we should,' I told him, and we broke it right open at the lock."

The injured man complained of major pain to his back and wanted to exit the vehicle, but Major Coyle talked him into staying put and wait for emergency responders to arrive and take over the scene.

"I was afraid to move him," said Major Coyle. "Just opening the door helped; it gave him fresh air."

"Prying open the door with a crowbar and caring for the victims until EMS arrival was definitely a Wingman in action. We're very proud of him," said 45th Operations Support Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Pat Youngson.

"Ironically we've been hitting everyone up on their Self Aid Buddy Care training and he just happened to complete this training two days before this incident. You never know when your Air Force training will come in handy."

Major Coyle said he isn't looking for recognition.

"I didn't feel I did anything out of the ordinary," he said. "I just did what I thought I should do."

The experience made him realize how quickly accidents can happen when least expected.

"We drive every day, then to see that car destroyed, and the people hurt badly instantaneously," Major Coyle said.

"This is something that could happen to any of us, including our families," said Lt. Col. Alan Beaumont, 45th Operation Support Squadron Director of Operations. "It's good to know that folks like Major Coyle, along with all other military-trained individuals, are out there helping people in serious situations."

From a safety and operational risk management standpoint, no one should take driving a motor vehicle for granted, he said.

"The people involved in the accident sure didn't expect this to happen and their lives are forever changed," said Colonel Beaumont. "You never know when you'll need to use Self Aid Buddy Care; that 'buddy' could be a complete stranger. Don't take your SABC skills for granted - don't view your training as just another block to check off. Learn it, practice it, and use
it when necessary."