NEWS | May 11, 2020

Pa. National Guard Soldiers recognized for aiding crash victim

By Zane Craig

Two Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers were recently recognized for their actions when they stopped to render first aide to a motorcycle crash victim along Interstate 78.

Pfc. Alyssa Cinquemani, a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic, was driving home after drill on May 1 and saw a woman running toward her screaming for help. Without hesitation, she pulled over, grabbed her Improved First Aid Kit issued to all soldiers and a towel, and rushed across the highway to where another woman was lying in a growing pool of her own blood following a motorcycle crash.

“When I saw her scalp, I knew I had to apply pressure and try to stop the bleeding,” said Cinquemani. “I cracked some iodine, put it on her scalp, applied some gauze, and then held my towel there."

Cpl. Christopher Eppler, a wheeled-vehicle mechanic, and formerly an Emergency Medical Technician for four years, soon arrived on the scene. Both Soldiers are with the 628th Aviation Support Battalion, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, which is currently preparing to <a href=""> <u>deploy</u></a> overseas.   

“My role wasn’t as important as hers, because even though she didn’t have my medical training, when I got there she had all the things I would have looked for under control; the bleeding, the position of the victim,” Eppler said.

When Cinquemani arrived, the incident had just occurred and no one had yet begun to render aide. She saw the female motorcyclist had a head injury, a laceration from the middle of her back to mid-thigh, and a broken ankle. The first thing she did was to tell the woman who had been screaming for help, the passenger in the car that clipped the motorcycle, to call the police.

“I am not (combat life saver)-certified, I am not a medic. I don’t do this stuff. I fix helicopters,” said Cinquemani. “I’ve never seen anything that extreme before.”

The uninjured motorcyclist told Cinquemani that while trying to slow down to look for something they thought they’d dropped, he slowed down while drifting toward the median strip and was clipped by a vehicle coming from the other direction, sending him and his wife riding on the back flying. Neither was wearing a helmet.

“I had no time to think, I had to act immediately because by the time I got there she was already critical, and I knew if I didn’t do anything at that moment, she was going to die,” said Cinquemani.

She said the training she received in the National Guard made her more confident going in, even though she has not yet completed the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Course. She added that her desire to serve in the Guard and deploy overseas is certainly correlated to her willingness to help a stranger in need on the side of the highway.

“I’m definitely someone who puts other people before myself,” she said, adding that if she or a loved one were in the same position, she would want someone to respond the same way. 

By the time Eppler arrived, Cinquemani had mostly stopped the bleeding, but they still needed to get the victim ready for the Emergency Medical Services to move as soon as they arrived, because she was in a critical state, with significant blood loss and a high chance of going into shock. Eppler was able to help keep the victim alert and conscious until EMS arrived and help relieve Cinquemani.

Command Sgt. Maj. Harry Buchanan III, the Pennsylvania National Guard’s senior enlisted leader, visited the two soldiers who were conducting pre-deployment training here with their unit, to recognize their heroic intervention with a coin presentation. 

“That’s what National Guard Soldiers do,” said Buchanan. “Even though we may not be qualified, we have enough common sense to stop, grab the equipment we need, and render aide to save somebody’s life.”

Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard live and work in the communities we serve. Cinquemani is a junior at Lehigh Carbon Community College studying criminal justice and hopes to become a police officer. While formerly an EMT, Eppler is currently a mechanic at a car dealership in his civilian life. The upcoming deployment is the first for both Soldiers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Lt. Col. Keith Hickox (717) 861-6254, or e-mail