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
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
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
“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.”
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.
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.
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� 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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
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