Army Paratrooper veteran saves unconscious USAF veteran in flight

A Houma, La., native made national news last week after he assisted in the resuscitation of a retired Air Force pilot during a flight from Atlanta to Houston.

Dr. Jeffrey Aycock, who was born and lived in Houma until he joined the Army at age 18, was one of nearly two dozen doctors on the flight returning from medical conferences in Atlanta, and said it was during the descent that he heard a commotion to his left.

Maggie McCay was in hysterics after her husband, retired Air Force Col. Tom McCay, passed out in front of her, said Aycock, who now works in Galveston, Texas, as an oral surgeon.

Aycock and four other doctors on the flight immediately jumped up to assist the man who had gone unconscious, and Aycock squeezed through the seats to reach McCay and lay him down so the team could begin checking his vital signs and giving him oxygen.

“I knew whatever it was, I had to see if I could help out,” said Aycock. “Once I grabbed him, I felt he was pale and clammy.”

From there, McCay began to stabilize on his own, but had the doctors not been aboard, McCay may not had been so lucky.

“We knew what could happen if we didn’t intervene,” said Aycock. “There’s a good chance his situation would not have improved had we not intervened.”

Aycock attributed his ability to move to help so quickly to his decade of service in the Army where he served as a paratrooper, medical aide and dentist.

McCay, who spent 23 years as a pilot in the Air Force, said he hasn’t found out what exactly caused him to pass out on the plane, but he is undergoing medical tests to find out.

“Like I keep saying, I want to thank the doctors, the flight attendants, flight crew, Houston paramedics and the passengers who were all kind, caring and praying. It was very appreciated,” McCay said.

“No doubt it was a team effort between doctors and Southwest Airlines crew that made this go so well,” Aycock said. “I was a part of a good team, and I just happened to be the small guy who could squeeze through the seats.”