SAN DIEGO - A master chief assigned to Afloat Training Group Pacific (ATGPAC) provided assistance to an injured, 18-year-old skateboarder involved in an accident in Chula Vista, Calif. Feb 3.
Master Chief Operations Specialist Robert J. Young was making his morning commute to work at ATGPAC's Training Standards office, when he noticed an injured young man laying on the side of the road.
"I saw a person on the opposite side of the road in the bike path writhing in pain, no one else was stopping, about five cars passed, I didn't know if he was hit by car or what," said Young. "I couldn't just leave him there. I felt a moral, ethical responsibility to give aid. I would have felt horrible for a long time if I passed him up. I asked where he was injured and he indicated his right knee and face, which was obvious, due to bleeding."
After assessing the situation, Young called 911 and gave authorities the location and an injury report. Emergency services arrived quickly.
"He thanked me a couple of times for stopping; I let him know help was on the way. He told me he had bailed from his skateboard and did a face plant," said Young. "I asked him if he knew where his board was and he said, 'right now, I don't care.' I could understand that, and just tried to keep his mind off his injuries. My concern was a head or neck injury."
According to Young, the victim was not wearing any protective gear. "I did not move the victim, due to possible head and neck trauma, and made sure other cars did not run him over while waiting for emergency response, which arrived within seven minutes."
Young, reluctant to accept praise for his actions, feels he was simply doing his duty as a citizen and a Sailor.
"To live up to our core values, we must maintain a higher standard," said Young. "If you won't stop and help when you can, how could we trust each other for vital support in a shipboard emergency or combat situation? Out there, over the horizon, all we have is each other. We need each other to succeed and survive."
Young attributes part of his inclination to provide assistance to Navy training and culture. "Years of first aid training gave me the skills and confidence to stop," said Young. "I knew I had the skills and therefore the responsibility to give aid. Maybe others don't stop because they are not sure how to react in crisis situations. We Sailors, are all trained to respond. It becomes a natural reaction, almost instinctual."
There is also a more philosophical reason for us all to be good citizens according to Young.
"We all have to take care of each other whenever and wherever we can … makes good karma."
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