LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. – This past summer, Master Sgt. Schameka White, 19th Operational Support Squadron chief host aviation resource manager, was on a flight back to Little Rock, Arkansas, after attending her daughter’s basketball game in Virginia. Little did White know; she would be called to action when a civilian onboard needed urgent medical attention.
During the flight, and within minutes of landing at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, White noticed a woman sitting behind her who appeared to be in distress.
“I thought, ‘okay let me pay a little more attention to her’,” White said.
Upon landing, White recognized what was happening with the women.
“I looked back, and I saw foam coming out of her mouth, so I yelled, ‘Hey! she’s having a seizure!’” White said. “I grabbed her head to prevent her from hitting it against her seat again and suddenly her face started to turn blue.”
White explained, she felt a rush of adrenaline and her heart racing with the realization that this women’s life was in her hands.
“Not long ago, one of my friends died from a seizure, so my motherly instincts just kicked in,” White said.
Along with her motherly instincts, White credits her experience of being a self-aid buddy care instructor for knowing how to respond to this type of situation.
White explained that usually when a person is having a seizure, they try to swallow their tongue. With this in mind, she looked for a spoon or something like it to prevent that from happening but was unable to find one.
“I had to have her lean back and massage her tongue upwards until I noticed her color was coming back,” White said with relief.
According to White, by the time everything got situated, the ambulance was ready and waiting at the gate to assist the passenger.
“When the paramedics came on board, the women woke up disoriented and not knowing what had just happened to her,” White noted.
White’s co-workers were not at all surprised to hear about her heroic actions.
“White is a dedicated senior noncommissioned officer that makes everyone on the team better by constantly coaching all of the Airmen in her section and maintaining high standards,” said Master Sgt. Layne Medlock, 19th OSS HARM superintendent. “She focuses on job performance while also learning from and about the Airmen. Her top concern is ensuring that they have all the tools available to them to be successful.”
White says her biggest take away from this is the reminder to always pay close attention to your surroundings and the people around you.
“You never know when you might be needed in a situation and you have to exercise an ability you’ve been taught,” White said. “It is exciting at first, but in real life, it can be scary. I just hope that if my daughter was ever in a similar situation and needed assistance, someone would step up the same way I was able to help.”