On thin ice: Academy NCO pulls woman from Kettle Lakes

  • Published
  • By Ray Bowden
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

A young woman has a lot to be thankful for after an airfield manager here yanked her and her dog out of the frigid waters of Kettle Lakes, Jan. 23.


Staff Sgt. David Moore of the 306th Operations Support Squadron was checking for safety hazards around the airfield just after 7 a.m. when he spotted the woman and dog in the water.


“She was fully submerged, trying to break the ice to get her dog out,” Moore said. “I don’t believe her feet could touch bottom.”


The woman was jogging near the ice-covered lakes with three dogs, Moore said. One dog chased a flock of geese across the icy surface and fell through. The woman rushed after the dog and found herself in the same predicament. 


“I don’t know how long she was in the water,” Moore said. “Kettle Lakes is more like a pond, a really big pond. She could have been very easily missed.”


Moore lay on the ice and pulled the woman out of the water. He removed her jacket and cap, put her in the front seat of the pickup, and cranked-up the heater.


“I gave her my top lay of clothes to heat her core," he said. "This included my long-sleeved pullover She was beet red, just freezing. I kept asking her questions to see if she could respond.”    


Academy Fire Department Chief Martin Clinton said Moore probably saved the woman's life.


“When you consider the outside temperature and the water temperature, she would have likely lost all her motor skills and went under,” he said.


Clinton said a training survey taken by the fire department shows the lake to be 12- to- 15 feet deep where the woman was submerged.


“It’s a little surreal,” Moore said. “I’m just glad I was in the right place at the right time.”


The woman declined medical attention. The dog survived.