Citizen-Soldiers rescue woman in dramatic flood video
May 4, 2011 at 1:46 PM CDT - Updated June 23 at 11:44 PM
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Two Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers earned the title Citizen-Heroes after being caught on videotape while completing a daring rescue of a 93-year-old woman on the swollen Black River Tuesday.
"Today is the reason why I signed up for the Guard," said Spc. Junior Bombard, of Ozark. "I knew one of these days I'd be needed like today, and sure enough, it happened."
Bombard and Sgt. Tim Bridges, both of the 1138th Military Police Company, located in West Plains and Springfield, were supporting local authorities when they received an emergency call at 9 a.m. about an elderly lady that had attempted to cross a water-covered Highway 53.
"We weren't there to be heroes," said Bridges, from Carthage, who was serving on his first state emergency duty. "We were just doing our jobs."
The two Citizen-Soldiers worked with a winch cable as a safety line and teamed up to save the citizen. The dramatic scene was caught on tape by a Butler County Deputy Sheriff, Bob Larkins, who assisted from the shore. The video can also be seen at the Missouri National Guard Facebook page and the Missouri Guard YouTube page.
"Our reaction was a combination of our training and natural instinct," Bridges said. "We knew immediately that we needed to act quickly, it feels awesome to know we were able to save a life today."
The two Citizen-Heroes are mobilized as part of the Missouri National Guard flood response efforts in southeast Missouri. Gov. Jay Nixon mobilized the Missouri Guard on April 25, and there are currently more than 760 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen supporting flood response missions.
"Nothing makes you feel as good as being able to help your neighbors in Missouri," said 1st Lt. Monte Davault, commander of the 1138th Military Police Company.
Bombard has been a part of several water rescues during this state emergency duty, but this one was the most exciting by far.
"That current was moving," Bombard said. "It was just one of those deals where we were in the right spot at the right time."
The woman was evaluated by local Emergency Medical Services personnel and released.
Missouri National Guard members are responding quickly to changing conditions in the Southeast Missouri region. Missouri counties, Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Scott and Stoddard, are all engaged in the flood response efforts.
Missions in flood response include security, sandbagging, evacuation support, levee monitoring, route reconnaissance, traffic control, support to first responders and door-to-door safety checks.
Missouri's Soldiers and Airmen will continue working in support of local authorities until released by the governor.
Units supporting the flood response include: 70th Troop Command, Jefferson Barracks; Whiteman Air Force Base/St. Louis; 139th Airlift Wing, St. Joseph; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood; 175th Military Police Battalion, of Columbia; the 1140th Engineer Battalion, Cape Girardeau; the 1221st Transportation Company, of Dexter, Portageville and Sikeston; 1140th Forward Support Company, Cape Girardeau; the 1138th Military Police Company, of West Plains and Springfield; the 1138th Engineer Company, of Farmington and Fredericktown; the 1175th Military Police Company, of St. Clair and St. Louis; the 880th Engineer Detachment, Perryville; the 220th Engineer Company, Festus; the 1438th Engineer Company, of Macon and Kirksville; 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment of Jefferson City; Missouri Wing Civil Air Patrol and the Joint Operations Center at Joint Force Headquarters in Jefferson City.