172nd Airlift Wing Flight Medic Praised For Reaction To Motorcycle Crash

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jared Bounds
  • 172nd Airlift Wing

Mississippi Air National Guard Senior Airman Abby Reid, a flight medical technician with the 183rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 172nd Airlift Wing, Jackson, Mississippi, was recognized for her skill and selfless service after stopping to help a motorcyclist who had wrecked on Interstate 20 near the town of Lake, Mississippi, on February 5, 2022.

On a cold February evening, Reid was on her way home from drill when the car in front of her slammed on their brakes. A woman was in the middle of the highway, flagging down traffic. “It’s not every day you see something like that,” Reid said. “I almost wrecked, myself, but when I saw someone was hurt, and military members standing in the median, I knew there was no way I was going to pass by.” 

Mississippi Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Guyse, A3 Operations Senior Enlisted Leader, 186th Air Component Operations Squadron, Meridian, Mississippi, was offering aid alongside a Mississippi Army National Guardsman and a Sailor from Meridian Naval Air Station. The three had stopped, separately, and were directing traffic while working to keep the injured man stable. “It was obvious his wrist was hurt,” said Guyse. “He kept saying he just wanted to take a nap, but Reid wouldn’t let him.” Guyse said Reid immediately knew how to react to the scene. “She said she was a medic and asked if we needed help,” said Guyse. “Then she rolled up her sleeves and went right to work.” Mississippi Army National Guard Master Sgt. Steven Davis, State Property Book Noncommissioned Officer, Joint Force Headquarters, Jackson, Mississippi, said his impression of Reid was one of absolute composure. “She had her assessment done, and in no time, she had control of the scene.”

2nd Lt. Sam Sherrill, flight nurse and Reid’s supervisor at the 183rd AES, said he was not surprised to hear of Reid’s quick action and eagerness to help. “That sounds exactly like something she’d do,” Sherrill said. “You can always count on her. She used a lot of the skills we train for, and it was probably second nature to her.” Aeromedical Evacuation flight medics and nurses are trained to fly and work with any crew, regardless of location or situation. “She’s one of our best medical technicians,” said Sherrill. “I’m extremely proud to work with her.”

Reid has been a flight medical technician as long as she’s been in the MSANG. “I still think it’s a dream that I get to do this job,” she said. “I love the way a crew works together; the cohesion.” That cohesive aspect was abundant to Davis and Guyse. “It was amazing,” Davis said. “It was like we had all worked together before.” 

Guyse had time to observe Reid’s technical and leadership skills as she continued to evaluate the injured man. “They teach us attention to detail from the very start, and it builds the fundamentals of your career,” said Guyse. “If that cyclist was more seriously hurt, and he was going to bleed out, you need someone who knows how to go in, know what to look for, and take charge of a situation like she did.” 

“In the Air Guard, we train like we fight,” said Reid, who had no medical gear with her as she pulled up to the scene of the wreck. “So, I had to make do with what I had: my hands and a pair of scissors.” Guyse said once Reid had finished her assessment, the impromptu medical response crew was prepared to splint the man’s injured wrist with a stick and a t-shirt. “That’s when the ambulance got there, and Reid told them all we had done,” said Guyse. “She was speaking their language.” he said. 

Reid said she inherited her passion for medicine from her grandmother. “She was a nurse for a long time,” said Reid. “I get to be involved in the process of taking a person from a critical place and watch them get better.” Reid also takes pride in the legacy of her career field. “When someone asks me what I do in the Air Guard, the look in their eyes when I tell them ‘flight medic’ is awesome,” she said. But when it came to providing aid to a stranger on a lonely stretch of Mississippi interstate, Reid wasn’t looking for accolades. Still, her poise while directing two senior noncommissioned officers would not go unrecognized.  

“She never asked for recognition; never expected it,” said Guyse. “It’s those kinds of leaders we need right now: those who lead from the front.” Davis said Reid’s capability under pressure set the tone for the improvised joint forces operation. “Army Guard, Air Guard, Navy,” said Davis. “We were waiting for the Marines to show up, but they didn’t make it in time,” he added. Guyse said Reid’s actions were so impactful, he felt compelled to track down her leadership at the 172nd so they could know how honorably Reid had performed. “This was after the duty day,” Guyse said. “She was on her way home and could have just breezed on by, but she didn’t.”

At the time of this writing, Senior Airman Reid is working on her nursing associate degree, with plans to pursue a nursing bachelor’s degree and commission as a flight nurse. “If you have something you can give to others, do it,” she said. “Don’t let anything take that mentality away from you.”