You’re out with your family headed to a restaurant. You make a right onto the expressway taking the route you usually take and come across a very drastic sight. You pull up first to the scene of what appears to be a head-on car collision into a tree. What would be your first instinct? U.S. Marine Maj. Brandon Lokey’s first instinct was to run and save lives.
“I think God had a hand in me showing up when I did,” said Maj. Brandon Lokey, a logistics officer with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “I knew what needed to be done, and I acted.”
Lokey, who was a firefighter/medic on a technical rescue team for four years in Arlington, Texas, says he was the first onto the scene of a car wreck that happened November 25, 2017, at approximately 5 p.m. on Highway 75 near Tengan Pier in Okinawa, Japan. According to local Okinawan reports, a mother and her three daughters were involved in a head-on collision with a tree.
“I heard a loud boom,” said Staff Sgt. Brosnan Rogers, the company gunnery sergeant for Intelligence Operations Company, 3rd Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Marine Information Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “My wife looked outside and observed that a car had struck a tree, so when she said that I immediately grabbed some ice and headed over hoping that the crash wasn’t that bad.”
Rogers ran over to the accident to find Lokey already assessing the scene to see how bad the damage was. The Marines were able to assess the situation first before springing into action to save the victims in the car. The Marines say they observed a car of four local Okinawan women in the wreck.
“First thing I did was turn off the car,” said Rogers a native of Jacksonville, Florida. “I then observed a little girl, maybe five or six years old in the back seat in a lot of pain so I helped her out of the vehicle and took my green USMC sweater and laid her down on the sidewalk; I then put my sweater behind her neck in a c-shaped form,” said Rogers.
Lokey at this point began to start CPR on a victim in the backseat. Lokey was able to direct Rogers and anyone willing to help during the ordeal. Lokey and Rogers were able to get two of the victims out of the car until Okinawan medics arrived to remove the others. Locals passing by were able to stop and assist by translating to keep the conscious victims calm.
“In the moment, I was only thinking about the preservation of human life,” said Lokey, a native of Princeton, Texas. “I think any Marine would have done the same.”
Story by Cpl. Carl King