Airman 1st Class Jake Bush, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electro-mechanical technician, points at the Missouri River where he rescued three people approximately 150 yards from where he was fishing July 1 in Ulm, Mont. Although one of the individuals died Tuesday night at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., Bush utilized refresher skills taught at a CPR course he had taken earlier that day at Malmstrom Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen)
Airman 1st Class Jake Bush, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electro-mechanical technician, describes diving into the Missouri River on July 1, rescuing three people underneath the Ulm Bridge. Mayra Castaneda, Great Falls KFBB Channel 5 news reporter, and Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs videographer, video-taped Bush as he explained the accident. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen)
by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
7/10/2013 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- For Airman 1st Class Jake Bush, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron electro-mechanical technician, July 1 was a seemingly normal Monday.
Just hours after completing a CPR refresher training course, Bush was put in an unlikely situation which required him to put his skills to good use.
He rescued three people from the Missouri River in Ulm, Mont.
A native of Randolph, N.Y., Bush set his eyes on fishing on Holter Lake, Craig, Mont., but at 9 p.m., he settled for the short trip to Ulm. Within 10 minutes of reaching the first access spot underneath the Ulm Bridge, Bush noticed something was wrong.
"I noticed two girls were struggling in the water about 150 yards away," Bush said. "Then a man ran in and tried to save them. Then I saw all three were having trouble so I immediately ran down to the side of the river and dove in. As soon as I got to them, I realized we were stuck in a whirlpool - a place where the water is deep next to a sandbar."
Bush brought the youngest teenager to shore, who was unhurt at the time. He returned to the water to rescue the two others and brought them to shore.
"Honestly, I didn't think I was going to make it to shore," Bush said. "On the surface, the river looks still but can be deceiving underneath. It took all of me to make sure they made it to the shore."
Although the man - Ernest Lamere - was unresponsive, Bush performed CPR until emergency crews arrived. Unfortunately, Lamere passed away July 2, according to Cascade County Sheriff's Office officials in an article published by the Great Falls Tribune. Wing One would like to convey our deepest condolences to the families affect by this tragedy.
"If I hadn't taken the refresher course that morning, I would have still had the knowledge from taking the CPR course two years ago," Bush said. "But having the refresher knowledge definitely helped."
Bush said humbly that he couldn't just stand by; he had to do something.
"I'm not a hero; anyone would have done the same if they were in my shoes," he said.
As Bush's story went viral over the course of the days following the incident, many words of praise echoed through the Great Falls and Malmstrom Air Force Base communities.
"I can't begin to describe how proud and grateful I am [of Bush]," said Col. Robert Stanley, 341st Missile Wing commander. "[He] demonstrated for all of us exactly what America needs right now - selfless people who put the needs of others ahead of themselves. Fortunately for us at Malmstrom, there are many others like [him] out there, patiently waiting for [their] moment - that defining instant in time where they make an indelible difference in the lives of those around them."
Although the only Airmen required to be CPR certified Air Force-wide are physical training leaders and those in medical career-fields, Air Force Global Strike Command requires all those who work in the missile field to be CPR certified, said Master Sgt. Christina Zabel, 341st Medical Operations Squadron family health team NCO in charge. To sign up for a class to become CPR certified, call Zabel at 731-3864.
Summer safety around water By Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Editor's Note: A native of Randolph, N.Y., Bush, 21, has years of fishing experience on the many lakes and rivers in New York. While Bush selflessly put the needs of others before himself, Team Malmstrom members are reminded to be mindful of their swimming capabilities as well as river currents in Montana.
The following are safety precautions to take while swimming in Montana's lakes and rivers:
· Always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible.
· Supervise swimming children. Make sure an adult is constantly watching swimming children or in or around the water. Do not engage in any other distracting activity while supervising children.
· Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming or boating. Avoid drinking alcohol while supervising children around water as well.
· Learn to swim. Enroll yourself and children in swimming classes.
· Don't consider your children to be "drown-proof." Just because a child enrolled in an infant water-proofing class or swimming class does not make them "drown-proof." A child who falls into water unexpectedly may panic and forget learned swimming skills.
· Learn CPR. Because of the time it might take for emergency services to arrive, CPR skills can make a difference in someone's life.
· Stick to life jackets, not toys. Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as water-wings, noodles, or inner-tubes in place of life jackets. These are toys and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
· Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. When boating, regardless of distance to be traveled, size of boat, or swimming ability of boaters, life jackets should be used.
· Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous to swimmers and boaters.
· Stay out of dangerous water. During spring, rivers have swift, cold murky water that may contain dangerous eddies and hazardous debris from run-off water from mountains.
· Avoid jumping off cliffs. Jumping from cliffs or bridges is dangerous because of shallow water, submerged rocks, trees or other hazards. Never dive head first into water.
· Beware of dams. Never swim above or below a dam and always obey warning signs.