When Senior Airman William Huff learned CPR as part of his Air Force Reserve training, he never dreamed he’d use that knowledge within a month to save a man’s life - twice.
Huff, a member of the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, is credited with reviving a Lonoke County man with the life-saving technique he had learned in a unit CPR training class in January. Huff is a maintenance technician with the base’s growing Air Force Reserve unit.
According to Huff, he and his fiance were driving along Forbus Road in Lonoke about 3 p.m. on Feb. 5 when they spotted Scott Munholland lying in a ditch alongside the road. Taking quick action, they pulled over and checked to see if he was okay.
“He seemed disoriented and said he was having trouble breathing,” explained Huff. “He said he needed an inhaler and that he lived right down the road. We got him into our car and called 911.
“We got him to his house and looked for the inhaler, but we were unable to locate it. We sat him down and a search of his pockets turned up the inhaler,” said Huff. “He used the inhaler and appeared to be able to breathe better so I told him he’d be okay and that the ambulance was on the way.”
Then things took a turn for the worse, and Huff’s military training kicked in.
“He said he was still unable to breathe,” explained Huff. “His breathing grew ragged and short and I coached him to breathe slowly and as deeply as possible. Then he stopped breathing altogether, and went limp.
“I shook him, snapped my fingers and called his name, but he was unresponsive,” Huff continued. “I laid him on the floor and could see he was no longer breathing, and I could not feel his pulse. I then began administering chest pumps and after only 10 to 15 compressions he regained consciousness.”
But the man wasn’t out of the woods yet.
“He told me he still could not breathe, and while I was telling him to breathe deeply and slowly he stopped breathing and lost consciousness again. Once again, I administered chest compressions until he regained consciousness,” said Huff.
According to Huff, Munholland told him that he wasn’t going to make it, and that Huff could go, that it would be okay. But Huff wasn’t having any of that.
“I told him I wasn’t leaving him until the EMTs were here, and that he would be okay,” said Huff. “I asked him if he had children and he said ‘I got lots of kids.’ I told him he would see them again and that he was going to make it.”
An ambulance with Allied Emergency Services of Ward soon arrived with two EMTs, who stabilized the man and hooked him up to oxygen.
“That young man’s quick actions kept him going,” said William Tremaine, one of the Allied personnel on the scene.
“I think he’s extremely generous, a real stand-up guy,” said Mr. Munholland. “People in the Air Force don’t think about it, they just do what’s needed, they’re just helpful. I’d like to see him again and thank him.”
Huff was honored during the unit’s February unit training assembly (drill) for his heroic actions.
“The Air Force Reserve trains to same standards as the active duty Air Force and this is clear proof of the effectiveness of that training,” said Col. Anthony Brusca, 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, deputy commander. “This Airman embodies the ideals of service before self and we’re very, very proud of him.”
“Senior Airman Huff is one of our best troops and I’m extremely proud of him,” said Maj. Richard Rogers, maintenance commander. “I’m not at all surprised that he took action and helped that man.”
The 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, stood up in March 2011 with just two personnel, and has grown to over 400 Airmen and five C-130H model aircraft. The unit is currently transitioning from a formal training unit mission to a combat airlift mission in association with the active duty 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base.