By Jeffrey C. Doepp, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Virginia (NNS) -- A Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic naval officer assigned to Public Works Department New London, Connecticut, rescued a driver from an overturned car May 15.
Lt. j.g. John Amos, a Boise, Idaho, native, and his wife Rachel, a native of Clifton Park, New York, were inside their home that evening when they heard a loud explosion outside. They rushed to the window and saw debris all over the ground and an overturned sedan, resting on its hood in front of their driveway.
“Rachel immediately grabbed the phone and called 911 while I ran outside to investigate,” Amos said. “When I saw children’s clothing and shoes scattered across the street, my heart sank and my thoughts went straight to the worst case scenario. I noticed that no one was around at the time and realized very quickly that I had to respond.”
Amos safely maneuvered around the downed, live power lines, yelled at the driver to see if he was responsive, and asked whether there was anyone else in the car. After the driver said “no,” Amos immediately told him not to move while he pulled the car door open.
“I asked if anyone had a knife from the group of bystanders who had just started to gather,” Amos said. “Thankfully someone had one, and I was able to cut off the driver’s seatbelt.”
As he was dragging the driver to the side of the road, he saw that the car was on fire and spreading within the engine. Fearing the vehicle may explode, Amos directed the bystanders to drag the driver further away and take care of him while he double checked that no one else was in the car.
With smoke bellowing out from the overturned car’s engine area, Amos pulled a garden hose from the back of the house and started spraying everything down. His wife Rachel and a neighbor used fire extinguishers to help suppress the flames. As the flames and smoke began to slow, paramedics and police arrived on the scene to take statements and tend to the driver.
“Remarkably, the driver was able to walk away from the scene and did not need medical attention,” he said. “Rachel, and I are very grateful that no one was out walking along the street at the time. This definitely could have been a lot worse and we’re glad there were no serious injuries.”
Cmdr. Matthew Williams, the public works officer for Public Works Department New London, said Amos is always willing to jump in to help someone out, even in his day-to-day duties.
“It’s a reflection of who he is and what he stands for,” Williams said. “I think undoubtedly most of us would not hesitate to call 911, but I don't know that everyone would have jumped right into the situation like John did.
"His actions were not only brave, but upheld the values of a model citizen and naval officer.”
Amos graduated from Boise State University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and received his commission through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He was commissioned as a submarine warfare officer and stationed as a student at the Nuclear Power School, Charleston, South Carolina and as a student at Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa, New York. He re-designated to the Civil Engineer Corps in March 2018 and attended Civil Engineer Officer School in July of 2018.
Amos is currently serving as construction manager at the Public Works Department onboard Submarine Base New London, Connecticut.
NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from Georgia to Maine and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.