Sailor Helps in Saving Life

By R.J. Stratchko

Capt. Paul Biving Nziengui (left), chief of Gabonese Naval Forces, thanks U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Saucedo (right) for saving the life of a Gabonese civilian on Sogara Beach, Gabon. U.S. Navy Capt. John Nowell (center), commander of Africa Partnership Station, also was on hand to recognize Saucedo at the ceremony.

Photo by R.J. Stratchko / DoD Photo

PORT GENTILE, Gabon — A sailor stationed on board the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry was recognized Jan. 17 for helping save the life of a local Gabonese woman.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald Saucedo, a storekeeper, received the award from Gabonese Chief of Naval Forces Capt. Paul Biving Nziengu and U.S. Navy Capt. John Nowell, commander of Africa Partnership Station.

Saucedo was on liberty at Sogara Beach on Jan. 14 with three other Africa Partnership Station sailors when they witnessed four men carrying someone from the water.

"As we walked up to the crowd of people on the beach, they saw my dog tags and said, ‘U.S. Marines, U.S. Marines,’" he said. Saucedo immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

"I checked her pulse and airway,” he said. “Then I tilted her head back, and somebody volunteered to do mouth-to-mouth while I did chest compressions. Shortly after, the water gushed out of her nose, and she came to. As soon as she started regaining consciousness, we made sure she was OK, and then tried to get additional medical help."

Saucedo described the whole experience as scary but credited his reaction to the training he received in the U.S. Navy.

"I was afraid when I began chest compressions, but my training just kicked in," he said.

The basic life-saving training that Saucedo received is the same training that Africa Partnership Station is teaching maritime professionals from West and Central African countries.

Saucedo said he believes anyone who happens upon such a situation needs to do something about it. "Always try to do your best, even if you are not the one giving CPR,” he said. “Do something to help; don’t just walk by."

"Petty Officer Saucedo’s actions exemplify what APS is all about, building trust with the African people so that we can strengthen collaborative partnerships," Nowell said.