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Marines Recognized For Heroic Response
by USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo - February 20, 2012

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MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (2/16/2012) — For their embodiment of honor, courage and commitment through their life-saving actions in the spring and summer of 2011, two Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., received prestigious medals, Feb. 15.

Marines of Marine Wing Communication Squadron 38 congratulate Cpl. William A. Turner, back right, and Sgt. Jeremy W. Caddell, front right, after an awards formation, Feb. 15, 2012. Turner, a satellite communications operator and Pensacola, Fla., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Caddell, the squadron deputy family readiness officer and Web City, Mo., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. These Marines were recognized for their crucial roles in saving lives after near-fatal events last year. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo
Marines of Marine Wing Communication Squadron 38 congratulate Cpl. William A. Turner, back right, and Sgt. Jeremy W. Caddell, front right, after an awards formation, Feb. 15, 2012. Turner, a satellite communications operator and Pensacola, Fla., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Caddell, the squadron deputy family readiness officer and Web City, Mo., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. These Marines were recognized for their crucial roles in saving lives after near-fatal events last year. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo
 Marine Wing Communication Squadron 38's Cpl. William A. Turner, a satellite communications operator and a Pensacola, Fla., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Sgt. Jeremy W. Caddell, the squadron deputy family readiness officer and a Web City, Mo., native, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for playing essential roles in the survival of others.

While surfing along the shores of Mission Beach with a friend in San Diego, March 5, 2011, Turner noticed the hands of three civilians who were struggling to keep their heads above the water.

“I immediately let go of my board and swam right out to them,” said Turner. “I don't know why. I just saw them struggling and knew I should help them.”

Turner placed the safety of the drowning victims above his own as he continued to hold one member of the group above water for approximately 10 minutes in the midst of dangerous currents while the others were taken to shore by rescue personnel.

“I have never had to respond to anything like this before, but I had worked as a lifeguard for two years prior to joining the Marine Corps,” said Turner. “I didn't really think about it. I knew what to do and just did it.”

For these valiant and selfless actions, Turner was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
 
In another act of instantaneous response and heroism, Sgt. Jeremy W. Caddell provided emergency medical action and response to a fellow Marine who had been in a motor-vehicle accident.

On July 31, 2011, Caddell and his fianc´┐Ż approached an intersection to find a hunk of twisted wreckage blocking the way. Caddell, without fear of his own safety, rushed from his vehicle to aid an injured man later identified as Gunnery Sgt. David W. Smith, the training chief of Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corp Recruit Depot San Diego and a Star, Texas, native.

Smith, stopped at an intersection on his motorcycle, was hit by a motor vehicle driving approximately 45 miles per hour. The impact then flung his body 97 feet into an intersection.

“I saw a man, jumped out and began high-tailing it over to him,” said Caddell. “We [motorcyclists] are taught that if there is ever a wreck, you stop and help. I also knew he should not be moved and was yelling for people not to touch or attempt move him.”

After ensuring medical personnel had been contacted, he and a registered nurse on scene performed a textbook rollover of Smith, preventing asphyxiation. He then continued to provide care until paramedics arrived on scene.

“At the time it felt like forever for them to get there,” said Caddell. “Looking back, I guess it was only a few minutes.”

Smith woke from a 10-day coma to learn he had sustained lacerations to the liver and kidney, a subdural hematoma and a hematoma in his throat. He also suffered an internal decapitation, completely separating his skull and spine.

While a decapitation has a 97 percent fatality rate with 28 percent of survivors becoming quadriplegic, Smith walked, not rolled, away from the hospital in three weeks and two days.

“Because of his actions and how quickly he responded and the sequence of events he chose to take I am able to stand here and walk again,” said Smith. “It means the world to me. He is my hero. He is the reason I am alive.”

In recognition of his immediate acts of heroism that allowed Gunnery Sgt. David W. Smith to live, Caddell was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

These two Marines, exemplifying the highest values of the Marine Corps with their immediate aid and subconscious protection of others, set an example for their fellow Marines within MWCS-38 as well as throughout the Marine Corps.

By USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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