Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. --
Airman 1st Class Austin Jacobs has been an installation entry controller for Space Launch Delta 30 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. for the past two years. Jacobs’ training as a first responder came into place while visiting his family in the state of Indiana as Jacobs jumped into action to save his neighbor, George Metzger retired U.S. Army on Apr. 13, 2021.
Jacobs was in his home, sitting at his kitchen table, when he heard his sister’s familiar voice coming from outside of this house, as his neighbor’s home started to fill with smoke.
“I was sitting inside my home in Indianapolis. Our family was finishing planting some flowers in the garden when my sister, Ashley, suddenly, yelled out, “Call 911!”,” said Jacobs.
As a child, Jacobs grew up in a military home. His father, George W. Jacobs Jr., is retired U.S. Army and his grandfather is retired U. S. Air Force. Their examples of military careers left a great impression on the mind of young Jacobs.
“My father was out of the Army while I was growing up but kept the military mindset while raising four boys. I would hear stories of his time in the Army and my grandfather also shared many great stories of his time of service with us. All I wanted growing up was to join the military. I just wanted to follow in my father and grandfather’s footsteps,” said Jacobs.
When it came time to establishing his personal career and the future of his family, Jacobs saw an opportunity to fulfill those dreams in the U.S. Air Force.
“After consulting with my wife and my family members, I knew the Air Force was the branch of the military I wanted to join. Security Forces is the military career that I always wanted to be a part of. I enjoy helping others and this job has given me opportunities to serve my country and serve my community,” said Jacobs.
On the day of the fire, Jacobs’ sense of service for his community, led him to have zero hesitation to rescue his neighbor. As Jacobs ran out through the front door, he became aware that Metzger was still inside his home and the house had become engulfed with smoke.
“At first I thought it was my children that had been hurt, but on my way out of the door I realized George’s house was on fire. Without thinking or hesitation, I remember seeing myself in the front door. I was standing in the hallway with the flames around me,” said Jacobs.
At the time, Metzger was not aware of the fire. He was in the shower and did not smell the burnt wood of his home. As the fire intensified, Metzger started to inhale smoke.
“My bother-in-law Zach helped me locate George. We got him out of the bathroom, covered him and got him out of the house before he got seriously hurt,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs’ first responder instincts kicked in as he performed first-aid on Metzger. He sat him down on a chair and kept his airway clear as they waited for paramedics to arrive at the scene. Metzger suffered smoke inhalation injury, but Jacobs’ quick actions saved his life.
“The U.S. Air Force taught me that when there’s an emergency, I need to keep level headed and move to the objective. At the time, the objective was to clear out the house and make sure nobody was hurt. I was glad to be able to use my military training to save George’s life,” said Jacobs.