ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Serving onboard an aircraft carrier is a hazardous job, and Sailors must always be prepared to respond to an emergency anywhere, anytime, on or off duty. They must be bold, knowledgeable, and ready, as demonstrated by Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Darrell Zofcin, from Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford's (CVN 78) air department.
On May 4, 2018, around 3:45 p.m., Zofcin was driving home from work, saw a wrecked car in the median of the road and stopped to assist, where he and several others provided initial first aid to the victim for half an hour until emergency medical services arrived.
"I went to the car and could see she was in pretty bad shape," said Zofcin. "Her lip had been completely split open, some of her teeth had been knocked out, and she kept coming in and out of consciousness."
Zofcin said he first inspected the area around the vehicle for fuel leaks or anything else that could have made the situation worse and, finding nothing, proceeded to help the victim.
Zofcin and other responders tried calling 911, but no one could get an answer. Zofcin tasked one man with continuing to call for help and others with finding medical supplies for first aid. Another Sailor present, Lt. Cmdr. Alex Wright, used the supplies Zofcin had gathered to treat the victim's face and slow blood loss while Zofcin and others kept her calm and reassured.
A Norfolk Transit Van stopped to help, from which Zofcin grabbed a C-collar to stabilize the victim's neck. At 4:22 p.m., emergency medical services arrived to transport the victim to the hospital.
"We all stayed calm under pressure, treated the victim with care and dignity, and did what we had to do to keep her calm and safe," said Zofcin.
Zofcin spent most of his time onboard Ford as the leading petty officer and senior crew member of Ford's crash and salvage team, which is responsible for responding to emergencies on the ship's flight deck during air operations. Zofcin worked in crash and salvage for more than 13 years, and said he has nearly earned his bachelor's degree in emergency response and management.
"Without the training the Navy has provided me, I wouldn't have been able to act in that situation as well as I did," said Zofcin. "I just acted like I was doing my job and it all came naturally."
Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Jarell Holliday, from Cambridge, Maryland, Ford's crash and salvage leading chief petty officer, said every Sailor should have the ability to act accordingly during an emergency.
"There's no such thing as a planned emergency," said Holliday. "You have to always be ready to handle emergencies properly to save lives and prevent any further damage. Even off-duty, you have to always be prepared, and I have 100 percent trust in every Sailor in crash and salvage to do well in an emergency, without question."
Holliday said Zofcin's response to the car accident illustrates his character and work ethic.
"He acted admirably," said Holliday. "Knowing him, he wouldn't have let it go any other way. He's always there for people."
Zofcin currently has orders to the Navy's Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) "A" school, where he will teach firefighting techniques to new Sailors, instilling in them the confidence, knowledge and readiness to handle emergencies.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn78/.