Medal for Lakenheath airman who helped Bury shooting victim

Col Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander, left, presents the Air Force Commendation Medal to Senior Airman Aaron 'Thomas Picture: USAF/A1C  Erin Babis ANL-150923-161059001
Col Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander, left, presents the Air Force Commendation Medal to Senior Airman Aaron 'Thomas Picture: USAF/A1C Erin Babis ANL-150923-161059001
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The RAF Lakenheath airman who helped last month’s Bury St Edmunds shooting victim was today awarded the USAF Commendation Medal.

Senior Airman Aaron Thomas, of 48th Contracting Squadron , was unwinding after work when he heard a man scream for help after being shot in the stomach with a shotgun at Forum Court.

“At first I thought it was fake,” Aaron admitted. “But he kept screaming, and I saw how dark the blood was.”

He grabbed a towel and rushed to the scene, where a woman neighbour was trying to help the man, then he tried to stop the bleeding from the man’s gunshot wound. He helped the man lay down and used his Self-Aid Buddy Care training to stabilize the victim.

“It happened so fast,” Aaron said. “It wasn’t until I got back to my house that I started to freak out just a little bit. The worst part was him saying he didn’t want to die.”

He remembered calmly responding to his cries telling him, “You’re going to be alright, buddy.”

But after Col Robert Novotny, 48th Fighter Wing commander presented him with the medal, he said: “I don’t want people thinking I saved his life or that I’m a hero. The cops got there really quickly and the paramedics soon after them. They saved his life. I don’t want credit for something they did.”

Tech Sgt Eric Schaffstein of 48th Contracting Squadron’s A Flight, said: “Something like this highlights his character. This shows a situation that could’ve been dangerous and he stepped up and just did what needed to be done.”