Hollyanne Milley, Wife of Joint Chiefs Chairman, Saves Veteran's Life at Arlington

Hollyanne Milley, spouse of the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley.
Hollyanne Milley, spouse of the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley, at a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for National Nurses Week, May 8, 2017. (U.S. Army/Elizabeth Fraser)

Hollyanne Milley did what nurses do -- she ran to help someone in trouble. And on Veterans Day, her instinct saved a life.

She jumped into action while at Arlington National Cemetery, where she was attending the traditional Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with her husband, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

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President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had not yet arrived when a man collapsed on the steps of the Amphitheater near the Tomb, Hollyanne Milley told NBC News' Courtney Kube.

"I just saw legs laying there," said Milley, a registered nurse. She rushed to help and found the man unresponsive.

"When I first got there, he was breathing in a very erratic way that he wasn't really taking air into his lungs as he should have been," she said. "And then he stopped breathing."

She couldn't find a pulse as she began chest compressions and called out for someone to dial 911.

"I did about two cycles of CPR, and then he just took a big, deep breath and kind of groaned a little bit and then started moving around," Milley told NBC.

"I put him in a side recovery position and just talked to him and told him what was going on and encouraged him to take deep breaths," she said. Fort Myer Emergency Medical Services then arrived and took him to a local hospital.

Milley told the news outlet that she spoke with the man, a veteran who wished to remain anonymous, on Thursday, and he was doing well and had been discharged from the hospital.

"He's grateful that he will be here next year to again honor those who served," Milley said. "And he said because of a bystander who knew CPR that's why he'll be able to continue on honoring our veterans for hopefully many years to come."

Nursing has a tradition in the Milley family. Gen. Milley has often spoken of his mother, Linda Milley, a nurse who served with the Navy Waves in World War II, as an inspiration in his life, describing her as a "break-the-glass ceiling" type of woman.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached as Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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