Story by U.S. Army: Lt. Col. Jennifer Bocanegra, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Killeen, Texas – Two members of the 1st Cavalry Division took part in rescue efforts to save a civilian truck driver from a burning truck after the vehicle overturned on Feb. 23 at around 8 a.m. near Fort Hood.
Sgt. Maj. Charlene Crisp, senior enlisted advisor to the staff judge advocate, 1CD, and Maj. Adam Blocker, plans officer and intelligence analyst, 1CD, along with two other noncommissioned officers assigned to Fort Hood took immediate action when they observed a dump truck make a sharp right turn and tip over in the vicinity of the Golden Chick parking lot along Fort Hood Street.
I was driving to work and saw a lady acting frantically on the side of Fort Hood Street,” said Crisp. “As I got closer, I saw the dump truck on its side and it was on fire. I pulled into a restaurant parking lot, right behind Maj. Blocker and we ran over to the truck.”
Blocker, who noticed the fire brewing under the vehicle while driving to the scene, said he immediately called 911 to notify emergency services and request a fire truck and ambulance.
Crisp, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, also added once she arrived at the site, she noticed the flames were getting higher, and the driver was stuck inside the truck.
“I attempted to kick out the driver’s side windshield and then realized it might be easier for the driver to climb up,” said Blocker, a native of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Two unknown noncommissioned officers on the scene, a master sergeant and a staff sergeant arrived at the scene and assisted by jumping on top of the vehicle to help pull the driver out through the door, which was sideways and pointing towards the sky, while Blocker, still on the ground, attempted to communicate with the driver to go up to the top of the doorway.
Crisp said a few civilians were also on the scene assisting with the rescue efforts. She instructed one to go into the restaurant and grab a fire extinguisher, which he quickly used on the fire to reduce the flames.
According to Crisp, the staff sergeant on the scene kicked the windshield to break the glass and a couple of civilian men cleared the shattered glass, which enabled the truck driver to kick his legs through. The recovery group then moved in and pulled the truck driver feet-first through the windshield cavity to safety.
“We then carried him away from the truck and once we were a safe distance away, we laid him down and waited for emergency services to arrive,” added Blocker.
While waiting for EMS, both Crisp and Blocker provided first aid by checking the driver’s cognitive abilities, ensuring he kept his neck straight to prevent a head injury, and keeping him calm.
“What we did was what anybody would have done in the same situation; I just saw someone in trouble and wanted to help,” said Crisp.
Blocker also ensured both military and civilians who were part of the rescue were safe and thanked everyone for their quick reactions.
In reflection of the event and the heroic efforts of the NCOs assigned to Fort Hood, as well as the unknown civilians who assisted with the rescue efforts, Blocker said, “I was surrounded by helpful NCOs and civilians, all of whom acted in complete harmony, as if they trained for this day.”
Blocker will exit the military in October, he encourages others to continue to seek opportunities to lend a helping hand.
“If you are looking out for your fellow Soldier or civilian and helping them in little ways now, then you will no doubt be able to help someone when it really matters,” Blocker said. “After all, it is the people on Fort Hood who are always looking out for each other that make it “The Great Place”.