MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. —
It was a winter day like any other at Minot AFB: cold, snowing and rife with ice covering roads and walkways. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Thompson, 5th Security Forces Squadron response team leader, was starting his afternoon shift after a cozy morning at home.
”I got up to let the dogs out, read my book, showered and arrived at guard mount to start my work day,” said Thompson. “It felt like it’d be a pretty average day.”
Thompson arrived at the Magic City Gate to begin his shift. To prepare for the upcoming rush of people leaving work, Thompson asked Airman 1st Class Cedric Amoranto, 5th Bomb Wing Security Forces defender, to de-ice the pavement leading to the gate. Amoranto attempted to open a new bucket of salt, but the lid was stuck tight. Thompson handed over his utility knife and went back to working the gate while Amoranto attempted once more to open the container.
Thompson was five minutes into the shift and had checked two cars through the gate when he heard a loud hollow thud followed by eerie silence. Instinctively, Thompson rushed to where the sound was heard. Outside the security room’s door was Amoranto, gripping his pinky.
“Only a paper cut,” thought Thompson. “Let me see it,” he said as he instructed Amoranto to raise his arm above his heart so he could inspect the wound.
He had a small superficial cut on his pinky but Thompson also noticed blood beginning to soak Amoranto’s sleeve. Upon further inspection he had a deeper cut further up his forearm that Amoranto hadn’t felt. An artery had been cut and blood was spurting almost a foot in front of him onto the snow covered concrete.
Being a former Self Aid Buddy Care instructor and having attended multiple Tactical Combat Casualty Care classes, Thompson felt prepared to help Amoranto.
“God forbid anyone would have to use these skills but at that moment, you are glad to have that medical training,” said Thompson. “Where we work accidents can happen anywhere and at the flip of a coin. It’s best to be prepared.”
Using all of his past knowledge, Thompson pulled out his tourniquet and applied it six inches above Amoranto’s wound. He quickly tightened the device around his forearm as another Airman contacted emergency services.
“I’m not sure how long I was rendering aid, but within a minute I had applied pressure and put on a tourniquet,” said Thompson. “I was not going to stop till first responders arrived.”
First responders’ response time was slower than average that day due to unfavorable road conditions. Once emergency medical technicians arrived on scene, they took over and were able to transport the injured Airman to the hospital for treatment.
“When I arrived at the hospital the doctor told me I would have bled out in three minutes if it weren’t for Thompson quickly applying the tourniquet,” said Amoranto.
Because of his flawless response and ability to react effectively to the emergency, Thompson was awarded The Air And Space Achievement Medal and members of Team Minot can look forward to seeing Amoranto greet them at the front gate.