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Defender delivers baby at gate

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Salena Waller, 86th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, with her two children. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Salena Waller, 86th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, with her two children. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, presents a coin to U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cadairo Domino, 86th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 6, 2018. Domino received the honor of being Ramstein’s Airlifter of the Week for assisting a pregnant mother through active labor during entry controller duties in late October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, presents a coin to U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cadairo Domino, 86th Security Forces Squadron installation patrolman, on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 6, 2018. Domino received the honor of being Ramstein’s Airlifter of the Week for assisting a pregnant mother through active labor during entry controller duties in late October. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Devin Boyer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- Most installation entry controllers expect to come into work and perform their usual duties to defend the base from unwelcomed visitors. Occasionally, something interesting happens and they respond accordingly. Then, there’s the unexpected.

For Senior Airman Cadairo Domino, 86th Security Forces Squadron patrolman, the unexpected came to him through these six simple, yet shocking words, “My wife is having a baby.”

Domino was the highest ranking of three Airmen posted at the Ramstein Air Base's East Gate in late October when a car pulled up to him with a very pregnant mother in the passenger seat. The husband told Domino there was no way they could make it to the hospital.

After quickly realizing the seriousness of the situation, Domino snapped into action.

“I told them to pull over to the side, so traffic could continue moving through the gate,” Domino said. “Then, I walked over to the mother and began coaching her through breathing techniques to keep her calm.”

Domino admitted he had never experienced a birth before, nor had the training to deliver a child or provide medical assistance. Instead, he relied on the things he’d seen in movies.

“I contacted over the radio, ‘We need medical and fire en route. We’re delivering a baby at the gate,’” said Domino, recalling the scenario.

The mother happened to be another 86th SFS patrolman, Senior Airman Salena Waller. Domino continued to facilitate traffic and aid Waller while she pushed through the contractions.

“Domino reacted fast,” said Waller. “He kept running back and forth from the gate shack to our car to help in any way. He really went above and beyond expectations.”

Waller and her husband were actually driving their oldest daughter to a babysitter when the situation unfolded. Having been pregnant before, Waller had a hunch this birth wouldn’t be an easy one.

“I had a feeling that my labor was going to be intense since my pregnancy was so easy,” she said. “I just didn't think it'd be that intense.”

According to baby center’s website, the average duration for labor is eight hours, but that was not the case for this mother.

“I believe I was only in labor for two hours tops,” said Waller. “It actually went smoother than I thought it would.”

In less than ten minutes of arriving at the gate, firefighters arrived on scene. Immediately after, baby Waller took her first breath of fresh air and the family was taken to a hospital in Kaiserslautern.

Thanks to Domino and the first responders, the baby entered the world safely.

“I just want to thank everyone who had a hand in making this experience run smoothly for my family and me,” Waller said. “We couldn't have done it without them.”