Story Number: NNS140702-06Release Date: 7/2/2014 8:17:00 AM
By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danian Douglas, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) (NNS) -- Two Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) stormed into a house and rescued an elderly woman from her burning home, in downtown Newport News, Va., July 1.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Second Class Devon Bishop and Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Third Class Jessica Jusino, both having just finished eating lunch at a nearby restaurant, saw a plume of smoke above the trees down the street before entering their vehicle.
The Sailors decided to investigate. As they drove down the street toward the source, they came upon a stunned crowd standing in front of a private house with black smoke billowing out of the enclosed porch.
"When we pulled up, we rolled down the window and asked the crowd if everything was OK," said Bishop. "They said no, and that a lady was inside."
Fresh from completing general shipboard firefighting training at Naval Station Norfolk's Firefighting Training School three weeks ago, Bishop and Jusino immediately jumped out of the vehicle, split paths down the sides of the house, looking for an entry point that was not engulfed in smoke or flames.
"He went to the right, and I went to the left, knocking everywhere to see if someone would respond," said Jusino. "When I heard her scream, I yelled to Bishop and told him to kick in the wooden door that led to the kitchen."
After pushing past a freezer that was blocking the bolted door, they encountered the elderly woman feeling her way around and screaming, "no, no no," thinking that she was being burglarized.
"After we told her that her house was on fire and that we were there to help, we helped her out of the house through the back door," said Bishop. "She was trying to grab some items but we told her we need to get you out now. Jusino and I then grabbed her walker and took her to the backyard."
After they hurried her safely to the house next door, in the care of the neighbor, they were then joined by the survivor's daughter, who had left for work but immediately turned back when she was alerted to the commotion taking place in front of her house, according to Jusino.
"The lady was scared, and really didn't know what was going on, but she was thanking us over and over again," said Jusino. "We on the other hand were still on an adrenaline rush."
The spirited Sailors said that only when they got back to their vehicle did they realize that they left the windows down, the doors open and the engine running.
"I feel stunned," said Jusino. "I am relieved that we happened to be there at that moment."
Bishop too, is still trying to come to terms with what they did.
"It's stuff you always hear about, but never really imagine yourself in that situation," said Bishop. "Everything we've learned, and all the training that has been instilled in us came into play today, with no hesitation."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) First Class Derrick Williams, the Sailors' leading petty officer, said that one of the missions of the aviation boatswain's mate (handling) rating, is firefighting aircraft aboard ships that carry aircraft.
"In our rating, the worst can happen in an instant, because we're landing and recovering aircraft, which can crash and explode any day" said Williams. "Although the rigorous drills can become repetitive, when tragedy occurs, aviation boatswain's mates are there to react instinctively and save lives, because that is our primary mission."
Lincoln is currently undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo a RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.