Marine assists heat victim
IE SHIMA, Okinawa, Japan -- Lance Cpl. Brennan O. Wischer received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal March 1 for providing a child medical assistance Dec. 24 while on a ferry traveling from Okinawa to Ie Shima.
Wischer, an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist and emergency first responder with the crash fire rescue team assigned to the operational support detachment at Ie Shima Training Facility, was returning to Ie Shima from Okinawa when Staff Sgt. Jamaine Johnson, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of ISTF, noticed a child in distress.
Johnson located Wischer, knowing Wischer was a trained first responder. Johnson and Wischer went to the boy’s father, who was clearly in a panic since his son was unconscious.
“He handed me his son, and upon receiving him I could tell he was extremely overheated,” said Wischer.
Wischer sprang into action, checking the child’s vital signs and thoroughly assessing the situation. Once Wischer realized the child’s condition was life-threatening, he directed bystanders to contact emergency personnel and instruct rescuers to wait at the dock for the ferry, according to 1st Lt. Ryan M. Ackland, the officer in charge at ISTF.
“There, the personnel could care for the child’s situation, which Wischer determined was likely heat stroke,” said Ackland.
Wischer performed critical lifesaving steps while they waited for the ferry to reach emergency responders on shore. He also managed to keep the boy’s parents calm while giving him first aid, according to Johnson.
“Wischer made sure the child’s airway was clear by ensuring everything was out of his mouth,” said Johnson. “He then began applying measures to bring the child’s temperature down by asking the parents to remove his sweater and cover him in cool, wet towels. Once that was done, he began to get the boy to drink water.”
After the ferry reached the shoreline, emergency personnel took over the child’s treatment.
“We went to the hospital later that day to check on him,” said Wischer. “He was OK. The medical personnel said he had a fever, which led to heat stroke on the ferry.”
Wischer, a 22-year-old from Tampa, Fla., grew up wanting to help others as a firefighter but ended up acquiring those skills through the Marine Corps.
“Becoming a part of aircraft rescue and firefighting was a simple decision,” said Wischer. “I’ve wanted to learn firefighting all my life and plan on pursuing that as a career after I leave the Marine Corps.”
Wischer’s exemplary act of valor came as second nature.
“I was doing what I’ve been trained to do,” said Wischer.
Wischer’s actions reflect his personality and work ethic as well, according to Ackland.
“He is an outstanding Marine who possesses the highest level of knowledge and dedication toward his job,” said Ackland. “His heroic actions demonstrate his calm approach in responding to stressful situations and are a true testament to his character.”