Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Bonded by battle, these four soldiers spend their morning pounding miles of the pavement together on their runs around the nation’s capital, but Thursday that routine took a dramatic turn.
“We heard a loud thud,” said 1st Lt. Quenten Vereen. “I immediately diverted my attention to the intersection and, as the bus actually went by, I seen an individual lying on the ground in the fetal position.”
A fellow jogger had been hit by a bus in an intersection and was bleeding heavily in the street.
“We all just went for a dead sprint toward the individual,” Vereen said.
Their battlefield experience kicked in.
“The first thing I saw is he had an arterial spurt and a compound leg fracture, which he was losing blood pretty fast,” Sgt. 1st Class John Russell told CNN’s Jake Tapper in Washington.
Russell said the blood was coming from the victim’s leg.
“It was pretty bad,” he said. “Like I said it was an arterial spurt so every time his hurt pumped it was shooting blood out of his leg.”
These soldiers are not medics but their training and combat experience propelled them into action. Russell immediately thought back to the moment in Afghanistan when his comrades were attacked.
“By the time we got there a marine lieutenant colonel had sustained a head wound, and army sergeant was shot through the neck and another army specialist was shot in the ankle. So we treated them, got them out of the kill zone, got them on the helicopters and then tried to do the best we could to end the fight.”
This time, the only enemy was time.
Vereen said when the man was hit, their military instincts immediately kicked in.
“Pretty much everyone here had already been through some kind of combat life-saving training and so pretty much everyone was just instinct,” he said. “We knew exactly what to do.”
They used what they had at their disposal – a t-shirt.
“We got down next to the individual. Once we were applying the t-shirt above his knee to apply the tourniquet we were just talking to him,” Vereen said.
The jogger who was hit has not had a chance to thank the soldiers yet and, other than his first name, the soldiers don’t know anything about the victim.