NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
Senior Airman Jon Brauch was heading to work on the Las Vegas Strip when he heard the gun fire. He had a good view of the overpass between the Excalibur and Tropicana hotels, so he began to surveil the area.
Suddenly, hordes of people were running in his direction. Several were severely injured. Brauch jumped into action – he helped people over barricades so they could take cover. Next he assessed a bullet hole that had gone straight through a man’s bicep.
“I heard from what I knew from the military was automatic gunfire,” said Brauch. “Then someone ran past me yelling ‘there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter. Run!’”
Brauch is a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve's 926th Civil Engineer Flight; his job is to detonate bombs. The very nature of his career choice demonstrates his willingness to face danger in order to protect others from it. But no one could have anticipated the horror of that Sunday night.
In a matter of minutes, one man became responsible for killing 59 people and wounding hundreds of others. Opening fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, he attacked concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival across the street.
“My military training helped,” said Brauch “I had the knowledge and capability from my combat lifesaver courses to assist with gunshot wounds.”
He checked a man who had been grazed in the neck for additional wounds, cut away his shirt to keep the area clean and quickly got him to medical support that had been set up on the street.
He discovered a woman who had sustained an injury to her hand. He applied makeshift bandages to her wounds and helped stabilize her. He then used her cell phone to reconnect her with her family and friends who she had been separated from.
“Looking back, I think I would have run straight to the festival where there were more wounded,” said Brauch. “Maybe I could have saved another life.”
Several Airmen from the 926th Security Forces Squadron were also there that night and helped with lifesaving efforts. Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Willard was heading to work at the Tropicana Hotel when the first shots were fired. He transported someone with a neck wound to a nearby ambulance.
Then he and his coworkers set up a triage center for ambulances to transport the wounded. He hand carried several people from Las Vegas Boulevard to the Tropicana. He directed several hundred people to safety and performed first aid on close to 40 people.
Tech. Sgt. Gregory Anton, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department SWAT team member, cleared and secured the hotels.
Maj. Daniel Nuqui, a State Police Officer, set up a defensive position at an adjacent hotel so people could safely reach medical help.
Senior Airman Joseph Kabbani, a LVMPD officer, was dispatched to a hospital where he helped offload several hundred injured people.
Tech. Sgt. Jessica Rayl, a Nevada State Trooper, resupplied multiple traffic control points throughout the valley with essential equipment to quarantine the affected area.
Senior Airman Brett Clashman, 926th Wing photojournalist, was on duty as a LVMPD officer and in the vicinity of the shooting. He was being dispatched to the hospital to help there when he saw a severely wounded man lying on the sidewalk in front of the Excalibur. The man's friends had managed to carry him there to escape the shooter. Clashman loaded the man into his car and drove the group to the nearest hospital.
“We are very proud of the heroic effort put forth by our Reserve Citizen Airmen to protect and save lives during the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1st,” said Col. Thomas Elmore, 926th Wing Director of Mission Support.
“Not surprising to me, our involved Airmen think what they did was nothing more than what anyone else would've done. It’s testament to the quality of character and sense of duty our members possess.”