Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do – these are the U.S. Air Force core values that every Airman should emulate on and off duty.
The core values are what unites the force and maintains it as the World’s Greatest Air Force — Powered by Airmen, Fueled by Innovation.
“Every Airman should be displaying these qualities, but the reality is, not all of them do,” said Master Sgt. Mark Pauley, 1st Combat Communications Squadron flexible communications package section chief.
While some Airmen take these values to heart more than others, Airman 1st Class Seong Woo Lee, 1st CBCS cyber systems operator, is one who strives to represent what it means to be an Airman and warfighter in the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Airman Lee is a humble person and is not one to bring attention to his actions,” said Pauley. “When I asked him how his weekend was, he did not mention anything out of the ordinary. So, I was surprised to hear about what Lee did to help save his landlord’s life.”
Lee, who is originally from Dongducheon, South Korea, had just moved into his apartment in Landstuhl two weeks prior and was still working on furnishing the place.
“I just happened to be home because I hurt my foot while moving a TV stand,” Lee said. “While I was on quarters recovering, I heard a loud noise outside and thought ‘Oh? What was that?’”
When he went to investigate, Lee was shocked to find his elderly landlord unresponsive and bleeding on the ground.
“I was really shocked and kind of scared,” said Lee. “I collected my thoughts and said ‘Okay, what do I need to do?’”
Lee accredits his quick thinking and actions to training he has received through the Air Force. Lee immediately thought of cardiopulmonary resuscitation training that had been offered to everyone in the 1st CBCS. He checked to see if the man was breathing and if his heart was beating.
“I could tell he was struggling to breath — it sounded like he was snoring,” said Lee. “I adjusted his head and mouth a little, but did not want to move too much in case there was a spinal injury.”
After ensuring his landlord was breathing, Lee noticed his neighbors were starting to form a crowd. He instructed them to call emergency services and direct them to the fastest route to get to where the man was laying. Lee also was able to find the man’s wife and help calm her down by reassuring her he was in good hands and giving her some water.
Lee’s landlord suffered a cracked skull, broken jaw and 10 broken ribs after falling while repairing a window on the second story of the house. Fortunately, after spending a few days in intensive care, the man’s condition has improved and he is on the road to recovery.
“If Airman Lee had not been home, we do not know how long the person could have been there or what other damage could have happened,” said Pauley.
Lee and Pauley routinely forward deploy in small teams to set up communications capabilities in contested environments as members of the 1st CBCS.
“When we deploy or TDY it is in small teams,” said Pauley. “We train and take care of our wingmen and Airmen because we can be called upon at any given time. It is the culture we grow in and Lee translated those values to know what is right to do when someone is injured. It is very good to know we have people that are willing and able to rise to the occasion in case something happens.”
While some may find it mundane or tedious, Lee stressed how his Air Force training helped him in this scenario.
“It is crazy how everything came together,” said Lee. “If I had not taken the CPR course, hurt my foot, and been put on quarters — it is scary to think what could have happened. I reacted the way any Airman — any human being — would have. It really shows how important the training can be. You never know when you will need it.”