News: Marines swift actions recognized helping Okinawan crash victim
Story by Lance Cpl. Natalie Rostran
OKINAWA, Japan - Staff Sgt. Gordon L. Llewellyn and Sgt. David B. Schmidt were awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and certificate of commendation, respectively, Dec. 1 at the Ie Shima Training Facility following their response after a car crash left a local girl injured.
Llewellyn is the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Ie Shima Training Facility and currently assigned to G-3, operations, Range Control, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. Schmidt is a chief range warden with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Marines were driving north on Route 449 Aug. 26 near Nago City when Llewellyn noticed an overturned vehicle on the side of the road. As they passed the vehicle, he noticed a teenaged girl lying on the sidewalk near the crash.
“I ordered my driver to stop, and immediately I exited the vehicle followed by Sgt. Schmidt,” said Llewellyn. “It appeared that she had been ejected from the vehicle based on the position of her body.”
After checking to see if the victim was conscious, the Marines checked her heart rate and looked for major injuries.
“She was conscious, kind of delirious and was (visibly shaken),” said Schmidt. “She wanted to get up, but we kept her on the ground. I was worried about spinal or pelvic injuries.”
Her high heart rate, presumably a result of shock from the accident, was a cause for concern along with the initial assessment of her injuries, according to Llewellyn.
“We found that her primary injuries consisted of swelling the size of a baseball on the back of her head and pain on the left side of her pelvis,” said Llewellyn. “Based on the mechanism of injury, there was a high risk, in my opinion, for internal bleeding, which could have caused her condition to worsen rapidly.”
As Llewellyn addressed the victim’s injuries, Schmidt gained control of the crowd that had gathered and moved them away from the scene, so that emergency services would have a clear path to the injured girl.
“There was a (community member) there that spoke English well enough to help me direct the crowd away from the victim,” said Schmidt. “It was important to give the victim space and to keep (her) calm.”
The emergency service personnel arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and transported the victim to a local hospital.
Llewellyn and Schmidt’s quick thinking and calm assured reactions to the accident helped keep the victim safe and prevented further injuries, according to Capt. Ryan M. Ackland, the officer in charge of the Ie Shima Training Facility.
“They definitely deserve (the awards),” said Ackland. “I was in the vehicle (at the time of the incident) and I wasn’t expecting them to react so quickly. They jumped out and ran to help. Their actions were noteworthy.”
The victim’s injuries were minor, although further information on the status of the victim could not be disclosed, according to Ackland.
“I would like to know if she is ok,” said Llewellyn. “My hope is that what we did that day made a difference, and that she is doing well and back home with her family.”