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Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Stubbs, the adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory White, senior enlisted leader of the Arkansas National Guard, present the Vanguard Award to Master Sgt. Greggorey Brewer at the Enlisted Association of Arkansas National Guard and the National Guard Association of Arkansas (AANG/NGAA) Joint State conference Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, to acknowledge his acts of heroism following a car crash in Sebastian County in June 2023.

Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Stubbs, the adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory White, senior enlisted leader of the Arkansas National Guard, present the Vanguard Award to Master Sgt. Greggorey Brewer at the Enlisted Association of Arkansas National Guard and the National Guard Association of Arkansas (AANG/NGAA) Joint State conference Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, to acknowledge his acts of heroism following a car crash in Sebastian County in June 2023. (Jessica Wilson/U.S. Air National Guard)

An Arkansas Air National Guard airman was honored Saturday for saving a life following a car crash in Sebastian County in June.

Master Sgt. Greggorey Brewer, a readiness and emergency manager with the 188th Civil Engineer Squadron, received the Vanguard Award at the Enlisted Association of Arkansas National Guard and the National Guard Association of Arkansas (AANG/NGAA) Joint State conference. Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Stubbs, the adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, presented Brewer with the award.

The award is sponsored by the Non-Commissioned Officer Association (NCOA) and recognizes enlisted service members for “exceptional bravery and selflessness” while saving a life or preventing a serious injury, an Air National Guard news release said.

Brewer was en route to work in the early morning hours of June 11, 2023, when he came across a vehicle that had careened off the road and was wrapped around a tree. One of two passengers was critically injured and bleeding profusely. Drawing upon his Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) training, Brewer retrieved a tourniquet from one of two first aid kits he keeps in his vehicle and was able to stanch the bleeding while coordinating with local emergency services, the release said.

“It was just natural instinct to stop,” Brewer said in the release. “My initial thoughts were that if it were one of my loved ones in the accident, I would want someone to stop. Secondly, my thought was to act fast and stop bleeding as quick as possible while also trying to get emergency services on the way. Minutes determine life or death in situations like this.”

Sebastian County Emergency Manager Travis Cooper, who works with Brewer on a quarterly basis through the Local Emergency Planning Committee, soon arrived on scene to help Brewer. The airman used the Jaws of Life and a winch to safely extract the trapped passenger from the wreckage. Once both victims were triaged and evacuated, Brewer, despite being clad in a blood-soaked uniform, continued to work, arriving less than an hour late, the release said.

“I think divine intervention played a role in this one,” Brewer said. “Just the day before I was participating in TCCC training. We went through everything from wound packing to tourniquet drills and had a simulated real-world scenario with role players. I do not believe that it was a coincidence that I had just completed this training the day before the accident.”

Brian McElhiney is a digital editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa, Japan.

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