An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

An unexpected call, firefighters welcome a new life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Blocher
  • 14 Flying Training Wing

Firefighters from the 14th Civil Engineering Squadron responded to an unusual emergency for a new baby in base housing at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, on June 28, 2022.

“When the caller on the other end of the phone said ‘I see a head’ I knew we needed to act fast and get someone out there,” said Airman 1st Class, Ryan Stellato, 14th CES firefighter.

Stellato was functioning as the 9-1-1 operator at the time of the call and with a plan already in place for an emergency such as this, the response team leaped into action.

“We actually had just run through the obstetrician training approximately two weeks prior to getting the call for a woman in labor,” said Gary Crosson, Columbus AFB fire department assistant chief of training. “It couldn’t have been better timing for that training.”

One of the trainings that firefighters must accomplish to become certified is an initial OB training as well as annual OB training after receiving certification.

Crosson, who served as the incident safety officer, and Shawn Ricchuito, 14th CES fire chief, were the first to arrive on scene.

“I went inside and the patient was already in a birthing position and that baby was crowning!” said Crosson. “Within a minute or so of making patient contact, the engine crew arrived with all their equipment and the emergency medical technician stepped right in and took over.”

When an emergency happens on base the EMTs and firefighters are tasked with assessing and managing the situation until an ambulance is able to arrive.

John Wootn, the EMT who delivered the patient’s baby, explained that they started with one patient and ended the call with two.

“I think one of the most important skills to have in a situation like this, is to be able to anticipate what the person providing care is going to need,” said Wootn. “Because of the great team cohesion and communication within our department, the firefighters on scene immediately started setting up the OB kit.”

Airman 1st Class Devante Speck and Staff Sgt. Matthew Lester, 14th CES firefighters, agreed that the highlight of the emergency response was being able to witness a new life being brought into the world.

“The fact that we were able to go in and operate at such an efficient level really just brings home how vital our training is,” said Lester. “It really drives the point that our training can become real life very quickly.”

Ricchuito explained that being a firefighter, especially on an Air Force base, means you must be prepared for anything and these firefighters train for everything.

“There’s very few places within the Air Force that you’re going to say okay, I am probably going to show up at work and by ten o’clock, I’m going to have successfully brought a life into this world,” said Ricchuito.