A wingman to all

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Sometimes Airmen are called to action when they least expect it.

For Master Sgt. Manuel Quirino, 352nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron intelligence analyst, the call to action came while running an errand in a local pet store.

“When I arrived there was an 89-year-old man inside near the entrance, slumped over on a wheelchair and two other people were providing assistance,” Quirino said. “They seemed troubled so I asked them if they needed someone to call 911.”

When the staff informed him they had already done so, they noticed there was no pulse and the man had started to turn blue.

From there, Quirino and a few others took turns giving chest compressions and supporting the man’s head.

“I kept doing compressions for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was probably just over a minute or so, when the security guard returned with an AED,” he said. “As I continued compressions the guard secured the pads on to the man and turned the AED on.”

“The machine powered on, there was no pulse reading, so the machine shocked the man for the first time,” he continued.
From there, he continued compressions as the security guard administered more shocks until the first responders arrived on the scene to take the man to the hospital.

“I was thanked by the pet store staff and emergency personnel and was told they were able to get a pulse and the man was breathing before they loaded him up on the gurney to transport him to the hospital,” Quirino said.

“I have gone through the CPR courses and even became an instructor, but I’ve never had to use it in a real circumstance,” Quirino added. “During the situation, I felt surprisingly calm and tried to make sure that I followed every direction that was given and provided the most support possible to keep him alive. The whole situation had my adrenaline through the roof and it took me a while to calm down.”
Quirino attributes his quick reaction not only to his CPR training but his job as an intelligence analyst that shaped his abilities to think critically in stressful situations.

“I was surprised to hear about something happening like that on a routine visit to the store but not surprised that he was involved in helping save the gentleman,” Master Sgt. Natalie Bennett, Pacific Air Forces force and unit-level manager, and Quirino’s wife. “He has always been the type willing to help someone in need.”

“I think it’s important to take your training seriously and understand that the training you receive may be the difference between somebody’s life or death,” he said.