News: Corpsman recognized for quick thinking in saving life
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Trotter
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 recognized one of its own with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal pinning ceremony at the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 hangar here Sept. 6, 2012.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole R. Rodriguez, a Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic hospital corpsman, and Sanger, Calif., native, was presented the NAM by Brig. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing commanding general, for quick, decisive thinking and response to a medical emergency when a victim ceased breathing at Crossroads Mall Aug. 9, 2012.
“He was in obvious shock with no vitals,” said Rodriguez.
Her instinctive reaction and quick thinking provided her with the ability to respond in a timely fashion.
“I directed two of the other civilians that were there to move him onto the floor where I reassessed his vitals,” said Rodriguez. “Once I determined I could hear or feel something, I started CPR. After about 30 seconds of CPR, he started to come back.”
This was Rodriguez’s first time administering CPR on someone when not performing training.
As fate would have it, Rodriguez was not even on duty as a first responder.
“I just happened to be an EMT (emergency medical technician) walking past the doors,” said Rodriguez. “They were like, ‘Hey! They don’t have an EMT there.’ So I went on the run.”
The adrenaline rush which accompanied her as she was en route to aid the victim soon dissipated when she was on scene.
“When I saw him, everything just escaped me for about five seconds,” said Rodriguez. “I had that momentary pause of ‘Oh, crap! I don’t know what to do.’”
She quickly overcame the shock and sprang into action.
“It just all came back,” said Rodriguez. “It was all instinctive.”
Rodriguez felt her NAM was not only a testament to her own belief in her abilities as a corpsman but her unit’s faith in her as well.
The honor of having a NAM is something which Rodriguez said was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity many never experience.
“I can say this was one of the happiest days of my life,” said Rodriguez.
That sentiment is shared with those in her chain of command, who feel she embodies the motto of looking out for their fellow service members and living up to the standard of always being ready at a moment’s notice to help.
“A lot of times, Marines take for granted the term ‘corpsman up,’” said Sgt. Maj. Gerard J. Calvin, MALS-12 sergeant major. “When that call is made, it’s made with the expectation that that sailor will be there for you.”
Service members who go above and beyond, reacting to a situation with forethought and capabilities at their disposal, was nothing new and something to be expected.
“I’ve been in that situation before where I had a young sailor do the exact same thing with a very limited amount of training,” said Calvin. “But when the time came for that sailor to do what was expected of them, they performed in the exact same way.”
Though not every service member receives a NAM for their efforts, those who do serve as a shining example of what it means to go above and beyond, demonstrating the traits on which the Marine Corps and Navy are founded.