A few years ago, I relocated to a small Caribbean island as a medical volunteer. One night, during a torrential downpour, a soldier from the national army came banging on my tent. He was fully armed and sporting a Vietnam-era M16 and surplus fatigues. His squad vehicle had hit a mudflow a few kilometers away, and there were some injuries. I quickly grabbed my emergency go-bag and SureFire E2L LED Defender® to follow him down the dirt road.
No more than a few meters out of the village, he turned off the road and into the jungle. He was using some cheap, no-good flashlight that was barely powerful enough to light up a bathroom medicine cabinet. I pulled out my Defender and it lit up the jungle like it was the Fourth of July. He looked at my light like he was in shock—as though he’d never seen anything so bright. We heard screaming in the distance. He had been leading me in the wrong direction with his weak flashlight, but his comrades saw the 200-lumen beam from my Defender and found us, taking us to the accident scene.
At the scene, it looked as though the vehicle had been picked up and slammed against a tree. Seven soldiers were riding in compact pickup truck that could only seat three inside. One man was barely clinging on to life: he’d been carrying his bayonet, without a scabbard, tucked into his belt and during the crash cut the femoral artery on the inside of his thigh. The artery had only been nicked, but he was losing blood rapidly, and the only hospital on the island was over 50 km away. I had to suture it immediately, so, in the pitch-black darkness of a tropical rainforest, without even the light of the moon, I handed my Defender to a corporal to hold overhead and went to work closing that artery and stopping the bleeding.
The 200 lumens of my SureFire E2DL saved that man’s life that night, both by getting me to the scene in time and by providing enough light to do what was needed to stop the bleeding.
South Gate, CA