Military News

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Airman performs courageous act, rescues two swimmers

by Staff Sgt. Veronica Montes
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


5/28/2015 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Memorial Day weekend is a time when many reflect and remember heroes, yet this Memorial Day weekend, an Airman from Fairchild AFB became one.

It was a normal sunny day on May 22 when Airman 1st Class Jonah Myers, 92nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, was swimming on the edge of the Spokane River with some of his peers when he heard screams coming from the rough waters in the river's center.

"I heard loud cries and yells from two females down the river, both were trying to swim and one had hit her head on the rocks," Myers said. "The water was rough and very cold, but I immediately jumped off a rock and began swimming toward the girls."

Myers, who hails from Valdosta, Georgia, arrived at Fairchild roughly three weeks ago. He was not expecting his first month in the active-duty Air Force to begin with a weekend like this.

"I have never been in this type of situation, but I immediately reacted to my instinct," Myers said. "When I got to the girls I grabbed the one who had hit her head, and the other girl came crashing into me. I grabbed them both and began to travel to the shore line."

While Myers was pulling the girls from the river rapids, his peers were still at the edge of the river.

Airman 1st Class Keahi Johnson, 92nd AMXS crew chief, had also dived in the cold rapids when he heard the screams, yet he said Myers' had already reached the girls and was walking them out.

"It was great to see Myers react that quickly," Johnson said. "He didn't even hesitate, he just dove right in."

Myers said when he and the struggling females got close to shore he could hear sirens from fire trucks.

"There was no path at the shore bank and I knew this climb was going to hurt my feet," Myers added. "I was shaken up and was nervous about the girl who had hurt her head ... she was struggling to walk."

The emergency response teams met Myers at the river's edge and began examining the girls' injuries immediately. Both females were transferred to the hospital where they were treated for minor injuries.

"My biggest fear going through all of this was that I was also going to get caught in the river and create another body for the response teams to rescue," Myers said. "When I heard the screams I felt like it was a decision I had to make immediately. I could either let the professionals arrive or take it on myself. I felt I made the right decision to jump in and bring them to safety."

While his peers were impressed with his bravery that day, so was his leadership in the squadron when they heard of his courageous act.

"Without a doubt, what Airman Myers did is outstanding," said Lt. Col. James Dorn, 92nd AMXS commander. "I'm proud to see that my Airmen are willing to step up and lend a needed hand, despite the risks to their personal safety. Jonah represented the unit and the Air Force very well."

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