Airman earns Ohio Cross for heroic rescue
Story by Tech. Sgt. Shane Hughes, 178th Wing Public Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio (02/14/20)
On the morning of Sept. 20, 2018, Master Sgt. Ryan K. Tucker stopped at a gas station just outside Springfield Air National Guard Base, where he works as an operations compliance superintendent at the 178th Wing. Before Tucker could exit his vehicle, another vehicle crashed into the front of his vehicle before coming to a stop. Tucker exited the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Jessica Roberts. As he did, he noticed blood from lacerations across her throat.
Just moments later, another vehicle swerved into the gas station and rammed Roberts’ vehicle, which she narrowly escaped. Without hesitation, Tucker placed himself between Roberts and her assailant, her husband. After Tucker, wearing his military uniform, intervened, Roberts’ husband fled the scene.
Tucker then turned his attention to Roberts and applied first aid he’d learned as a member of the Ohio Air National Guard. He called 911 and attempted to calm and stabilize Roberts. When local law enforcement officers arrived, Tucker helped a police officer apply first aid to control Roberts’ bleeding and prepared her for medical evacuation. Despite her life-threatening injuries, Roberts was safely evacuated by helicopter to a hospital and made a full recovery.
“I wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t helped,” Roberts said. “He’s a true hero.”
Accordingly, Tucker was recognized for his heroic, lifesaving actions on Feb. 14, as Lt. Gov. Jon Husted presented him with the Ohio Cross — on behalf of the governor and the citizens of the state Ohio — during the Ohio National Guard Joint Senior Leaders Conference in Columbus. The Ohio Cross, the state’s highest military award, is awarded to an Ohio National Guard member who distinguishes themselves by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own life.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” Tucker said.
Col. Kimberly Fitzgerald, 178th Wing commander, said Tucker’s actions that day over a year ago were exemplary of the Air Force core value of “service before self.”
“It is in crisis situations like the one that Master Sgt. Tucker found himself in that bring out our true nature,” Fitzgerald said. “He demonstrated courage and a willingness to put someone else’s life before his own personal safety. We are proud of him and thankful to have him in the 178th Wing.”