No hesitation: Frank Cable Sailor assists in auto-pedestrian crash
SANTA RITA, Guam – “I checked his airway, checked for breathing and checked for a pulse. When I realized none of that was happening, I looked up to someone standing right on the other side of him and said, ‘Call 911. He’s not responding.’”
Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 2nd Class Andrew Pluss, assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), came upon an auto accident the evening of Monday, July 16, while traveling down Marine Corps Drive in Hagatña, Guam.
As he passed by, Pluss didn’t think twice about stopping to make sure the driver was alright.
“I pulled out into the center lane after passing the car and put my hazards on,” said Pluss, native of Denver, Colorado. “When I got out of my car and started heading back, that’s when I noticed the man lying on the ground. That’s when I realized he had just gotten hit by the car.”
Pluss instantly ran up to the man and began to assess his condition. When he didn’t see any visible injuries or receive any response, he turned the man on his back and began CPR compressions until first responders arrived on scene. In the moment, he didn’t think about anything except trying to save the man.
“My mind was more or less blank,” said Pluss. “When you do this four or five times for training, your thought just goes into training again and you just go for it. Honestly, it was like tunnel vision. I was just doing exactly what I needed to do.”
Once medical professionals arrived and relieved him of his duties, Pluss tried to keep himself calm as the reality of the situation became clear. He stuck around the area for a little while afterward, hoping the man was ok.
“It’s eye-opening, to say the least, when it comes to these situations,” said Pluss. “Unfortunately the gentleman didn’t make it … and I feel bad. I feel bad for his family. He left behind a wife and children. Now the children don’t have a father … and the mother is now a widow.”
It’s not just the family of the victim that he is concerned about, but also the impact on everyone involved.
“I feel bad for the driver that hit him because I know she didn’t try to hit him,” said Pluss. “There were obvious signs that she tried to avoid it. There were skid marks. She didn’t try to leave the scene or run. I feel bad for everyone involved because it’s just so unfortunate.”
Though his worries have been about everyone else, Pluss realized the events that took place have also had lasting effects on him.
“As time has gone on, it’s been a little bit harder dealing with the whole situation,” said Pluss. “No matter how much training you get, the experience, especially the first time around, is going to be daunting. It may not be at that point in time, but it hits you later on.”
Everyone close to Pluss has supported him since the night of the accident.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the work center, friends and family,” said Pluss. “Everyone has been making sure I’m OK. They’ve been asking me how I’m doing and how I’m feeling. My friends have been trying to get me out of the house.”
In addition to the support he’s received, Capt. Jeff Farah, Frank Cable’s commanding officer, presented him with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his bravery and heroism.
"Pluss is a hard-working Sailor in our repair department," said Farah. "The award was given because of his heroism, but he's also doing hard work every single day while he's here. Usually, we reserve that for an end-of-tour completion."
Pluss appreciates the award, but receiving any kind of recognition was the last thing on his mind when he pulled over to help.
“It feels good to be recognized,” said Pluss. “It’s not like I did this to be recognized. My thought process was, ‘This is what’s right to do. I need to do this because this person needs help.’ But it’s nice to know people appreciate that I tried.”
Pluss believes anyone else with the proper training should do the same thing if they are ever in a similar situation. He says the training will automatically take over, regardless of any fear.
“It’s scary, but if you know what you’re doing and you’ve been trained … do it,” said Pluss. “Your body is going to know exactly what to do because you’ve been trained. Don’t hesitate because you could save someone’s life … and that’s more important than anything else.”
Frank Cable, forward deployed to Guam, repairs, rearms and reprovisions deployed U.S. Naval Forces in the Indo-Pacific region.
For more information on Frank Cable, find us on Facebook at USS Frank Cable (AS 40), or http://www.csp.navy.mil/frankcable.
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