VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. --
A routine ride home took an unexpected turn when a driver on the highway saw a crashed motorcycle and unconscious man on the side of the road.
Airman 1st Class Cinthia Cortes, 30th Medical Group aerospace medical technician and her sister-in-law encountered and helped an injured motorcyclist while coming back from San Luis Obispo on Highway 101 in Santa Maria, Calif., May 27, 2022.
Cortes immediately went into quick action calling the emergency response services to arrive to the scene and while delivering lifesaving medical care to the gentleman.
“My sister-in-law, who is a Registered Nurse, found his pulse, while I grabbed control of his head and neck,” said Cortes. “These were one of the main things taught to me as an emergency medical technician to help avoid spinal cord and other injuries.”
With 36 hours of hands on trauma training that she received at Lompoc Valley Medical Center, as the 30th Medical Groups first medical technician to be sent for local training, Cortes was able to apply all of her skills to keep the rider temporarily stabilized as they waited on the emergency vehicles to arrive.
“We heard him gurgling blood through his helmet and we rolled him to his side,” said Cortes. “That helped to get the blood flowing out of the side of his mouth but he was still having a difficult time breathing.”
The paramedics arrived and quickly transported the gentleman to the nearest hospital where he was admitted into the intensive care unit and completely stabilized. Cortes explained what she felt being able to help the rider that day.
“I have never seen anyone in an accident before’ and I was in shock,” said Cortes. “I put myself in his situation and I would hope that someone would come and help aid me in any shape or form. Knowing that something I did, that was so small, was able to help in some way, felt nice.”
Cortes’ heroic efforts were acknowledged by the Space Launch Delta 30 First Sergeants Council, giving her the Diamond Sharp Award. The award recognizes outstanding Airmen and Guardians who go above and beyond in their daily lives. The Air Force is dedicated to growing strong leaders and resilient families while protecting our base and local community.