Spc. Kevin Killens, Jr. Awarded Soldier's Medal
by U.S. Army Kelly Morris, Aviation Center of Excellence
January 14, 2023
Spc. Kevin L. Killens, Jr., a Fort Rucker
firefighter with the 6th Military Police Detachment, was awarded the
Soldier’s Medal on January 5, 2022, in a ceremony at Yano Hall, for
risking his life to save the life of a resident in the local
U.S. Army Spc. Kevin L. Killens, Jr., a Fort Rucker firefighter with the 6th Military Police Detachment, is awarded the Soldier’s Medal by Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commander, during a ceremony at Yano Hall
on January 5, 2022. Killens risked his life to save the life of a resident in the local Wiregrass community. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris, Aviation Center of Excellence)
On May 16, 2021, then-Private 1st Class
Killens had just completed a 12-hour volunteer shift providing
emergency medical support to the community of Daleville, Ala. While
returning from an ambulance run, driving along County Road 109 near
Level Plains, he and his partner from the Daleville Rescue Squad saw
smoke near a tree line and decided to drive in that direction to
find out its source.
Upon seeing the structural fire, they
quickly notified Daleville Dispatch. Killens could see the flames
coming through windows and the roof, and heard screams coming from
inside. With no first responders on the scene yet, Killens and his
partner chose to intervene.
They immediately ran through the
surrounding debris field and entered the building from the back.
Inside they found a man with severe burns on his body. They dragged
him out of the building 100 yards away to safety.
administered lifesaving aid, wrapping the man’s hands and giving him
oxygen. They contacted the Alabama Stroke Trauma Center, and
immediately rushed the man to the nearest hospital in Dothan,
Alabama for treatment. The man was later airlifted for further care.
The timing of Killens’ arrival on scene and intervention were
critical. Killens and his partner were able to push their emotions
aside that day, stay focused on the task at hand, and help give the
resident a fighting chance of staying alive.
courageous actions in the face of danger that day, Killens was
awarded the Soldier’s Medal.
Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry,
U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commander,
thanked attendees for showing their support, including Killens’
parents who traveled from central Texas.
McCurry said to earn
the Soldier’s Medal, a person has to live up to the Soldier’s Creed
and the Oath of Enlistment, which Killens has done.
enough to save a life. You have to save a life at the risk of your
own,” said McCurry.
Killens, who has been volunteering with
the Daleville Fire and Rescue on the weekends for three years in
addition to serving as a firefighter on post, said one of the
reasons he joined the Army was to help others.
that the Army gave me the skillset and the training to really be
able to handle those stressful situations and know, hey, I can rely
on that, and then just keep my mind in the zone,” Killens said.
“It turned out to be a big success, thank God. We did what we
could to do good for others,” Killens said.
Killens said he
appreciated the AIT Soldiers who helped with preparing for the
ceremony, and his family for being present.
He was also
grateful for his partner that day of the incident.
“I had a
great man I was working with, Zach Smith, and we kept each other
safe. We ran a lot of hours together,” he said. “He was my
right-hand guy. He always had my back, and I always had his. I’m
just glad in a situation like that I had him by my side.”
The Soldier’s Medal was established by an act of Congress in 1926.
It is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States
or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity
with the Army of the United States, distinguished themselves by
heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
represents the same degree of heroism as that of the Distinguished
Flying Cross. The Soldier’s action must have involved personal
hazard or danger while voluntarily risking their own life.
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