Airman Aides Crash Victim

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Waiting for a traffic signal at an intersection in Biloxi, Miss., she hardly saw the pickup truck become airborne upon impact.

"Oh, my God!" Senior Airman Ciara Bien thought as the truck suddenly flew by and landed on its roof 'like a pancake.' She had never seen anything like it before.

Bien, a health services management specialist with the 81st Medical Support Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, reacted immediately and approached the scene.

"As someone else ran to the truck, I ran to the other car," Bien said. "All the airbags had deployed. I had to help him out of his car."

Bien made sure the driver had no severe injuries, then walked him to safety away from the road with one arm while calling 911 with the other. She then went to the truck that had flipped on its top. There she helped other bystanders assist the passengers of the truck -- a husband and his wife.

"I stayed with the truck driver, trying to keep him still and calm until the paramedics arrived," Bien said. "He was very worried about his wife. He told me they had been married for 46 years and they were on a trip to Florida. I kept assuring him she was sitting right next to him and that she was OK."

Bien remained at the accident scene while emergency personnel picked up the couple and she ensured the car driver was all right.

Coincidentally, Adam Bond, a photographer with KMAR Industries at Keesler AFB, was nearby when the accident occurred and learned that the driver of the car involved in the crash was his brother. The brothers were returning from visiting their parents and his brother had passed him on the way home.

Bond wanted to thank Bien for her actions and wrote her commander a letter highlighting her involvement.

"I had begun to decelerate for a traffic light that had just turned yellow, when I witnessed a truck fly through the air in the intersection in front of me, just two cars ahead," Bond wrote. "I ran to assist and only after helping the driver out of the truck did I discover my brother was the other driver in the accident. Fortunately, no one involved was seriously injured."

As his nerves began to settle, Bond became aware of Bien, who was assisting the occupants of the truck as emergency services tended to their injuries.

"(Senior Airman Bien) checked and double-checked my brother to ensure he wasn't in need of medical attention," Bond recalled.

From the collision to the ambulances' departure, Bien said the accident spanned about half an hour. Bien remained on scene until the end.

"Only after ambulances departed, and she was certain everyone had been properly cared for, did she return to her vehicle," Bond said.

To thank Bien for helping his brother, Bond visited her in her office at the Keesler Hospital, Oct. 22.

"Senior Airman Bien exemplifies the Air Force core values in the medical community and the 81st MDSS, through her, demonstrated service to the community in a time of need," he said. "Her actions directly contributed to the assured well-being of three civilians in crisis and reflect positively on the Air Force and its mission."

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