“We were on our way back to our hotel and stopped by a convenience store, and as I walked in I noticed someone unconscious on the ground. I went up and conducted a vitals check on them and I noticed that they had no pulse and were not breathing,” said Tech. Sgt. Taylor Tompkins, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron explosives ordnance disposal equipment supervisor.
At that time, Tompkins was on temporary duty taking part in the Humanitarian Mine Action course in Petersburg, VA, on how to teach partner nation military services about EOD procedures.
“I directed the gas station attendant to call emergency services and started performing CPR on the patient,” he said. “I managed to get them to start breathing and have a heartbeat again. I was then able to maintain that until EMS showed up, who ended up stabilizing him.”
In this situation, Tompkins credits his experience within EOD and his extensive training with giving him the confidence and knowledge to take control of the scene.
“We deal with high-pressure situations all the time being in this job,” said Tompkins. “I think that gave me the ability to remain calm under stressful situations.
As a team leader in his flight, Tompkins routinely steps up into difficult or dangerous situations, said Capt. Todd Locke, EOD flight commander in the 786th Civil Engineer Squadron.
“Hearing that [Tompkins] put himself into a risky situation to help someone else out wasn’t surprising to us,” said Locke. “It was just another day for him.”
It was not only his training and skill but who he is as a person that has earned Tompkins an altruistic reputation in his flight, said Locke. He is consistently looking out for people and doing what he thinks is right.
“He put himself at risk for a stranger, and performed CPR for 20 minutes to save their life,” Locke said.
After the event, Tompkins wasn’t the person to tell his leadership. They didn’t hear about it until an officer in charge of a course he was taking at the time reached out to them with the news.
This event is what earned Tompkins the Air and Space Achievement Medal, a medal recognizing Airmen for specific outstanding events or performances in their job field.
“The only thoughts on my mind when I was going through it were to save this person and to give them a second chance,” said Tompkins. “I never expected anything to come out of it.”