WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. – Hawg riders are used to saving lives. The pilots of the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft, better known as the “Warthog,” save the lives of ground forces on nearly every sortie when they’re deployed. But on May 11, 2018, Lt. Col. Jeremiah Parvin, the former commander of the 358th Fighter Squadron, and Maj. Chad Carlton, an A-10 pilot with the 303d Fighter Squadron, proved they don’t need an aircraft, and don’t need to be deployed to be heroes.
It was a workout like any other at their crossfit gym, and they had just finished up. They typically “skedaddle” right way, Parvin said, rather than stick around. That day, however, they stopped for a minute to chat. That delay saved a life.
Carlton noticed a friend of theirs – a former soldier – drop to his knees, then to all fours, and then collapse. He bent down to check on him, and couldn’t get a response.
While Carlton checked on the fallen man, Parvin took charge of the scene. He directed people to call 9-1-1, move cars to make room for the ambulance, and to attempt to calm their friend’s wife.
“We just looked at each other,” said Parvin, “and we made the decision: let’s start CPR.”
Another of their workout buddies, a former Marine, began chest compressions, keeping to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Meanwhile, Parvin and Carlton realized their friend wasn’t getting oxygen.
Carlton says he doesn’t recall much going through his mind. “Just go to work. We were yelling at him to wake up.”
The two pilots fell back on their hypoxia training, making sure to use their friend’s name as much as possible in an attempt to keep him alert.
Parvin started mouth-to-mouth, performing six or seven breaths before switching off with Carlton. They continued the process until the police arrived.
“What made us feel a lot better,” Parvin said, “is when the police got there and they got the AED machine on him and it said ‘continue CPR.’ ” That let them know they had done the right thing.
“We’ve obviously been trained in CPR and self-aid, buddy care,” Parvin said. “What it doesn’t teach you is what a no-joke heart attack looks like.” In this case, their friend took shallow breaths every 30-40 seconds and had no discernable pulse.
Their friend is now out of the hospital and on the road to a full recovery.
Because of the quick thinking of Carlton and Parvin, another soldier gets to go home to his family.