An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Jan. 29, 2013

Airman uses SABC training, saves young boy

By Airman 1st Class Tom Brading Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

As a 16th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, Senior Airman Joy Clayton has spent time on the frontlines of combat, serving on aeromedical evacuations of wounded warriors to air dropping supplies to warfighters on the battlefield.

However, Clayton never expected her Air Force training would be utilized in a lifesaving emergency during her personal time.

It all began with a friendly visit to her neighbor's house.

Clayton was downstairs visiting her neighbor Tammy Driggers, when they both noticed an unfamiliar sound coming from the second floor. It was a continuous tapping noise. At first, Clayton and Driggers, dismissed the noise.

Moments later, Tyler, Tammy's 16-year old son, came rushing downstairs. He was visibly upset and out of breath.

"I thought my cat was jumping on the door," said Driggers. "We had no idea what it was, until I saw the look on Tyler's face."

"You're in the Air Force, you have to help!" cried Tyler.

Clayton was caught off-guard. She thought he was joking, but the concern in his voice made her think otherwise.

"I never thought about how the public views the military uniform," said Clayton. "But Tyler came to me because he needed my help. To him, the military's job is to save and protect."

Upstairs, Tyler's friend had been showering. Tyler heard a crashing noise come from the bathroom and attempted to knock on the door. But, there was no reply. After opening the door, he found his friend lying on the floor.

He was unresponsive and convulsing on the bathroom tile. The boy had a history of epileptic seizures. He had fallen out of the shower and hit his head off the sink. By the time Clayton and Driggers arrived to help him, blood was already pooling on the floor around him.

Tyler and Tammy were both hysterical and didn't know what to do. However, for Clayton, what to do came natural.

"I was trying to keep them calm while gauging the situation," said Clayton. "I've been around blood before, and I've been trained thoroughly on what to do in an emergency. My training just started kicking in."

Clayton credits her instincts as an Airman, as well as her maternal instincts to maintaining her composure and saving the boy's life.

"I was able to apply pressure to the wound and, with Tyler's help, we ensured he was safe until help arrived," said Clayton.

Clayton continued Self Aid Buddy Care, basic life support and limb-saving techniques that are applied to wounded and injured individuals, so they're able to survive during a medical emergency until medical help is available. She was able to dress the wound and control the bleeding while waiting for help to arrive.

Moments later, the paramedics arrived and transported the young man to Mdeical University of South Carolina where Electrocardiogram, Magnetic resonance imaging and diagnostic testing were completed.

The test results had proven it wasn't an epileptic seizure, and doctors suggested the boy may have fainted as a result of low blood sugar.

"I would have never guessed that I'd be placed into a lifesaving situation off duty hours," said Clayton. "But, when the moment did come, I was luckily able to fall back on my Air Force training and it made all the difference."