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“So Others May Live:” Rota Sailor performs life-saving care to local man

03 May 2023
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eleodoro Perez, a Naval Aircrewman assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79, was driving home when he saw a commotion on the side of the road, April 1, 2023. He quickly pulled over his car and approached the group.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eleodoro Perez, a Naval Aircrewman assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79, was driving home when he saw a commotion on the side of the road, April 1, 2023. He quickly pulled over his car and approached the group.

“After asking if they needed any assistance, I came out to find the gentleman on the ground was unconscious and had not received any attention by those surrounding him,” he said. “My patient assessment training quickly kicked in and proceeded to assess the gentleman.”

Perez is referring to one aspect of his daily job duties as a Naval Aircrewman Tactical Helicopter (AWR) in the U.S. Navy.

Perez, originally from Chino, California, joined the Navy in 2019. Upon completion of boot camp, he attended Aircrew then Search and Rescue schools in Pensacola, Florida. He was then assigned to HSM-41 in San Diego, California, where he learned the ins and outs of his role as a search and rescue swimmer crewman, before heading to HSM-79 in Rota.

“My daily duty can vary on any given day which is what I love about this profession,” said Perez. “I live by the search and rescue motto ‘So Others May Live.’”

Perez quickly determined that the man’s pulse was almost non-existent and he was barely breathing.

“I immediately went straight into performing CPR on the individual,” said Perez. “After several rounds of compressions, the individual woke up in a state of shock and appeared to be extremely lost and confused.”

Working with the other two individuals at the scene, they were able to calm the man and encouraged him to remain on the ground until emergency medical services arrived. Once the ambulance arrived, Perez relayed his initial assessment and actions to the emergency personnel.

“I’m a firm believer that if we all help, love, and respect one another this world would be in a much better position,” said Perez. “Luckily, my career and title as a search and rescue swimmer has provided me with the proper skills and knowledge to always be ready to respond when the opportunity unfortunately arises.”

In Perez’s selfless act of coming to the aid of a stranger, he not only exemplified the search and rescue motto but according to HSM-79 Commanding Officer, Capt. John Anderson, is indicative of everything that is expected of a Sailor.

“I’m incredibly proud of his actions and very fortunate to serve alongside him,” said Anderson. “These everyday interactions within our local communities are key to building upon the close relationships with our host nation friends and neighbors in Spain.”

Perez has since remained in contact with the man and routinely checks in on him and his family. The man’s family was extremely grateful that Perez was there to assist in this difficult situation.

“I am no hero by any means, just extremely grateful that God was able to place me at the right place at the right time to help the Spanish local in seeing another day surrounded by his loved ones,” he said.

While everyone may not have the same level of training as him, he encourages everyone to learn the basic skills to help – and possibly save – a life.

“I highly encourage people to learn the basic lifesaving practices, like CPR,” he said. “So that when moments like those arise, more people can jump into action and lend a helping hand.”

The HSM-79 “Griffins” are the U.S. Navy’s only Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) aviation squadron. Homeported at NAVSTA Rota, Spain, HSM-79 FDNF-E expeditionary detachments operate the MH-60R across the EUCOM AOR aboard Commander Task Force (CTF) 65 destroyers in support of Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet.

As the "Gateway to the Mediterranean,” NAVSTA Rota provides U.S, NATO and allied forces a strategic hub for operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. NAVSTA Rota is a force multiplier, capable of promptly deploying and supporting combat-ready forces through land, air and sea, enabling warfighters and their families, sustaining the fleet and fostering the U.S. and Spanish partnership.

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