U.S. Army Master Sergeant Robert A. Allinder – 2016 Army Vanguard Recipient
Master Sergeant Robert A. Allinder, with disregard for his own life and personal safety, exceptionally distinguished himself on 11 October 2015 at Camp Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan. MSG Allinder was one of the first people to arrive on the scene of the horrific NATO helicopter crash at a busy intersection on Camp Resolute Support. The scene was chaotic and devastating, with smoldering wreckage scattered and victims in the midst. Aviation fuel leaked everywhere, more than ankle deep in spots.
Despite the imminent danger of fire and explosion, MSG Allinder immediately approached the aircraft and began to focus on the extraction of the pilot and co-pilot. He stabilized the pilot’s head as other responders placed a tourniquet on the pilot’s right leg, cut him out of the seat, and removed him from the aircraft. He then stabilized the co-pilot’s head and directed others around him as they extracted him as well. Even though MSG Allinder received numerous electrical shocks by exposed wires in the wreckage during the extraction, he continued on without regard for his own safety.
MSG Allinder assisted in extracting the four additional passengers. Throughout the recovery effort, MSG Allinder demonstrated great courage and extraordinary leadership, directly participating in the extraction of all six victims. He assisted with the litter teams, moving victims to both role one medical care and, unfortunately, the camp’s Mortuary Affairs Collection Point (MACP). MSG Allinder did everything he possibly could that day to save lives of those involved in the crash, continuously risking his own life in the process. MSG Allinder remained calm and demonstrated exceptional leadership skills during a very dark and hectic moment for camp resolute support. his quick thinking and actions saved lives. When he wasn’t directly assisting with the extraction of the crash victims, he was securing sensitive items. Throughout the rescue operations, when time permitted, he was trying to determine how to cut off the power to the helicopter to ensure the fuel would not ignite. Several days after the accident, MSG Allinder finally sought treatment for his own injuries caused to his lower extremities from standing in the aviation fuel.
His personal courage, performance, expertise, and dedication to duty significantly contributed to the rescue operations and guaranteed the recovery of six crash victims. Master Sergeant Allinder’s personal example of selfless service and unhesitating, decisive actions are consistent with the greatest traditions of our uniformed services and played a pivotal role in saving the lives of 4 military members.
U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Geann F. Pereira – 2016 Marine Corps Vanguard Recipient
On Sunday, 11 October 2015 at approximately 1615 hours, a British MK-2 Puma helicopter crashed at Camp Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Gunnery Sergeant Geann Pereira, end-use monitoring staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Security Assistance Office – Afghanistan, Combined Security Transition Command -Afghanistan, was one of the initial first responders on scene.
Gunnery Sergeant Pereira arrived at the crash site and immediately began to prepare stretchers for the removal of the passengers from the cabin area. Gunnery Sergeant Pereira then, without consideration for his own safety, jumped inside the cabin of the helicopter and began removing debris in order to free the passengers. At this point, leaking fuel was pooling throughout the helicopter and on the ground surrounding the crash site.
Gunnery Sergeant Pereira began extracting the injured crew member and three other passengers by tunneling himself into the rear cabin area, through debris and a dense fuel vapor that made breathing difficult. Gunnery Sergeant Pereira cut through the debris using a set of bolt cutters found nearby in order to gain access to trapped passengers. Once the first three passengers had been extracted from the rear cabin area, Gunnery Sergeant Pereira determined that the remaining passengers could not be freed through the cabin and relayed this message to the personnel outside of the aircraft. While outside personnel were cutting through the aircraft fuselage to gain access to the final three passengers, Gunnery Sergeant Pereira stabilized and provided oxygen to one of the remaining passengers who was conscious and responsive. Once the fuselage and debris were removed, Gunnery Sergeant Pereira was able to free the three remaining passengers from the cabin.
Once all personnel had been removed from the aircraft, Gunnery Sergeant Pereira and another responder conducted a final sweep of the helicopter for personnel, weapons, and personal items. Additionally, they directed bystanders to back away from the helicopter in order to allow firefighters to finish securing the scene.
Only after the scene was secured, Gunnery Sergeant Pereira reported to the role one medical facility at Camp Resolute Support in order to receive medical attention for significant fuel contact and inhalation of fumes during the rescue.
Gunnery Sergeant Pereira’s bold leadership, wise judgment, and selfless dedication to duty reflected great credit upon him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
U.S. Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman Jaclyn N. Place – 2016 U.S. Navy Vanguard Recipient
Around 2200 on 7 November 2015, and upon hearing her neighbor scream her name from the adjacent apartment complex, Chief Place exited her residence and found her neighbor, stabbed by her husband. Chief Place noted the assailant running away from the scene and immediately realized the large quantity of blood covering the victim. She grabbed several towels and began assessing the wounds.
While carefully examining the victim, Chief Place called to another neighbor, an active duty marine, instructing him to bring his individual first aid kit (IFAK) or combat lifesaver bag (CLS) if available. This marine brought a large pack of trauma supplies, and another neighbor and fellow marine called 911.
Chief Place’s initial assessment identified a severed radial artery, lacerations to the face and a small entrance wound on the back of the head. She immediately applied an h-bandage to the radial wound which compressed the wound and stopped the bleeding. After the arterial artery bleeding was managed and with the assistance of other marines, Chief Place re-positioned the victim and applied pressure to the stab wounds on the back of her head and neck, thereby preventing excessive blood loss.
After stabilizing the victim and ensuring she was safe, Chief Place heard the victim’s mother exclaiming that the assailant was attacking her granddaughter. Chief Place immediately instructed the marines to maintain pressure on the first victim’s wounds and, with complete disregard for her own safety, ran to save the victim’s daughter.
Upon arrival at the second scene, the assailant had been restrained by another neighbor, so Chief Place jumped over him to immediately render aid to the 14-year old. The young girl was lying in a pool of blood, struggling against the well-intentioned restraint of other neighbors. Chief Place immediately recognized that the young girl was laboring to breathe due to a chest wound. Chief Place immediately took command of the scene instructing the neighbors to reposition the young girl to facilitate her breathing and maintain her airway. She then instructed them to apply pressure to the stab wounds to the young girl’s face and the more serious wound to the left auxiliary region around the fourth rib, which was bleeding profusely. Chief Place applied a seal to the wound, preventing air from being trapped in the young girl’s chest which could result in a life threatening tension pneumothorax.
Due to Chief Place’s steadfast composure under intense pressure, medical expertise and decisive action, both mother and daughter survived violent attacks and were home from the hospital within weeks. The severity of the injuries, to include a radial artery laceration in the mother and a chest wound in the daughter, would likely have resulted in life-threatening hospitalization or death if not for the quick response of Chief Place and the marines.
Chief Place’s professionalism, personal initiative and unwavering devotion to duty reflected credit upon her and were in keeping with the highest traditions of United States Naval Service.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Spencer J. Stone – 2016 Air Force Vanguard Recipient
On 21 August 2015, Staff Sergeant Stone and two childhood friends were traveling together during a sightseeing vacation in Europe when they boarded a high speed train in Amsterdam bound for Paris. One of his friends reported that they heard a gunshot and breaking glass behind them and seeing an employee sprint down the aisle followed by a man with an automatic rifle. A heavily armed gunman entered their train car holding an AK-47 assault rifle, 270 rounds of ammunition, a box cutter and gasoline intent on killing passengers. Several people tried to stop the gunman, but failed to do so. Stone, now cognizant of what was happening, tackled the armed suspect. During the struggle, Staff Sergeant Stone was stabbed in the neck and eyebrow and almost lost his thumb. He and his friend took action and seized the assailant’s rifle, beating him in the head with the muzzle and choking him until he was unconscious.
Ignoring his own injuries, Staff Sergeant Stone responded to a passenger suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. His critical lifesaving medical care techniques stopped the bleeding and resulted in saving the passenger’s life.. The quick reaction and decisive actions taken by Staff Sergeant Stone and his two friends abated what could have been a disastrous outcome and prevented the gunman from opening fire on 554 unarmed passengers.
Staff Sergeant Stone was transferred to the Central Hospital in Lille, France and underwent treatment in Germany before returning home on 3 September 2015.
He was awarded the Legion of Honor Knight Award for his heroic acts by the prime minister of France. The exemplary courage and heroism of Staff Sergeant Stone reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Air Force.
U.S. Coast Guard Machinery Technician First Class Mauro X. Desa – 2016 Coast Guard Vanguard Recipient
Petty Officer Desa is assigned to the engineering department at Coast Guard Station Panama City, Florida where he serves as a certified coxswain, officer of the day, boarding officer, boat crew engineer, boat crew member and communication watch stander.
On 7 August 2015, while transitioning St. Andrews Pass, returning from a previous search and rescue case, MK1 Desa observed a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vessel performing high speed maneuvers around an anchored sailing vessel. He immediately diverted CG-45633 to the scene and noticed a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer in the water with no personal flotation device struggling to stay afloat.
As he got closer, MK1 Desa observed the officer holding his personal defense weapon in his hand above his head engaged in a shootout. After alerting the station of “shots fired” on the radio, he quickly brought the response boat on plane and positioned his vessel between the officer and the suspects who instantly turned away and fled the scene in the stolen fish and wildlife vessel. Mk1 Desa recovered the officer from the water and instructed the crew to administer first aid to the officer who had been shot twice by the suspects.
Mk1 Desa’s actions and performance embody the selfless bravery of the very best the United States Coast Guard has to offer. His pride and professionalism exemplify Coast Guard core values and are the lineage of USCG Medal of Honor recipient Signalman First Class Douglas Munro. The distinctive accomplishments of MK1 Desa reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.