Navy corpsman, Army soldier help save injured motorcyclist’s life in Texas

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Ambulance driving on the highway in Texas. THEPALMER/Getty Images

An Army soldier and Navy corpsman were credited with helping save the life of a man seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last week in San Antonio, Texas. 

Police described the crash, which happened on March 22, to a local CBS News affiliate as a possible road rage incident during which the motorcyclist lost control and smashed into a guardrail along Highway 90 in San Antonio.

At that same moment, Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class William Peeler was driving home from Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Peeler has served for 15 years as a Navy corpsman and has previously deployed to Afghanistan, is stationed at the Navy Medicine Support Training Center as an instructor. 

“Trauma is trauma,” Peeler told Task & Purpose. “Whether it’s on the battlefield or on the side of the road.”

Upon witnessing the accident, Peeler grabbed a medical kit he keeps in his truck and rushed over to the motorcyclist, finding him badly injured and hemorrhaging blood.

“There’s the MARCH acronym – there’s a massive hemorrhage, check the airways, then you go into airways for respiration, then checking for circulation and if there’s any bone fractures. Then there is checking for any deformities of the skull or head trauma,” he told Task & Purpose

Peeler quickly applied two tourniquets to the injured motorcyclist as a second man approached to help – an Army soldier named Lance Burkeen.

Burkeen was described as an Army Reserve soldier. In local news footage, he appears in uniform. Task & Purpose tried to contact him, but was unsuccessful.

Burkeen had also been driving down the road when he came upon the scene of the crash, pulling over to offer assistance. The two service members continued to provide first aid to the man as emergency medical crews arrived on scene, with Burkeen helping to wrap the man’s badly injured leg. 

“We worked as a team to do everything we could to help this man,” Burkeen told CBS News last week. “My goal was to help stop the bleeding.”

The 31-year old motorcyclist was later taken to a nearby hospital and was in stable condition as of March 24. 

It’s not the first time, and certainly won’t be the last time, that service members spring into action and apply their training to help those in need. Like Marine Corps Sgt. Amed Issa, who last January rushed through gunfire on a crowded Hawaii street to help a man who had been shot multiple times, treating a sucking chest wound and applying multiple tourniquets. Or Marine Corps Capt. Stephen Alexander, who, while driving to the Marine Corps Ball in 2020, came across an injured driver trapped in a wrecked car and used the belt from his dress blue uniform as a tourniquet for the man’s partially severed leg. 

Heroic moments can happen when you least expect it, so pay attention when it comes to first-aid training. Someone in the future may thank you.

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