The wife of the nation’s highest-ranking military officer saved the life of man during a Veterans Day event at the Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday.
Hollyanne Milley — a practicing nurse married to Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — was attending the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier when she heard groaning behind her. It was just after the ceremonial wreath had been placed and before President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie appeared.
Milley can be seen on video closing her umbrella and walking toward the sound about a minute and a half after a man in a dark suit is seen uneasily walking up the stairs, bracing himself on the marble as he went. Once at the top of the stairs, he kneeled behind a column at the eastern entrance of the Memorial Amphitheater, near where the ceremony was taking place.
In a statement emailed to Military Times on Saturday, Milley said she heard “a little commotion” behind her and she went to see if she could help.
“When I first got there, he was breathing in a very erratic way that he wasn’t really taking air into his lungs as he should have been,” Milley said. “And then he stopped breathing.”
Milley checked his pulse and it was flat, so she told an onlooker to call 911 before beginning CPR. Milley didn’t give mouth-to-mouth, she said.
After about two cycles of chest compression, “he took a big spontaneous breath and a big groan on his own, and he started moving air,” she said. “After a few breaths, he started coming around.”
At that point, Milley stopped resuscitating the man and moved him into the rescue position on his side.
“It took about a minute or two for him to begin responding to my questions, asking about allergies and medical history and that kind of thing," Milley said. "I was just reorienting him to where he was, things that a medical person would ask when assessing a patient.”