CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan – Three Marines were each awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal April 26 at Camp Hansen, as a result of meritorious actions that saved another service member's life.
Lance Cpl. Steward M. Bach, Cpl. James A. Kasper and Sgt. Blake A. Wallace provided critical medical care April 18 to Staff Sgt. Francisco E. Campos, who suffered a heart attack during the three-mile run portion of a physical fitness test.
“I was walking across the parade deck when I noticed a Marine running at a slow pace,” said Bach, a fire support man with Headquarters Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “I slowed my pace to see how he
would do on a hill, and at the top of it he slowed and collapsed.”
Bach rushed to check Campos’ pulse, which was faint at the time, and immediately flagged down two vehicles for help.
“When I arrived, he had no pulse, so I started CPR,” said Kasper, a field artillery fire control man with the regiment. “Sgt. Wallace showed up shortly after I began CPR, and he took over chest compressions while I provided rescue breathing.”
When the Marines determined the faint pulse had completely ceased, Wallace immediately acted by properly positioning Campos’ head in the “head-tilt/chin-lift’” position, and continued to provide medical care until he was relieved by emergency responders, according to Wallace, a fire support man with the regiment.
The Marines credited the knowledge of emergency medical treatment they used on Campos to the training they received in boot camp, Marine Combat Training and the Combat Lifesaver Course.
The commanding officer of the regiment, Col. Lance A. McDaniel, praised and encouraged the Marines in front of family and friends of Campos, as well as other Marines with the regiment.
“Everyone knows that in this organization, no Marine is left behind,” said McDaniel. “This matters everywhere we go, not just on the battlefield, but in garrison as well. These Marines honored that principle when they provided assistance to Staff Sgt. Campos.”
At the conclusion of the formation, friends and family members of Campos presented mementos and thank you cards to the honored Marines.
“I don’t think I will ever be able to thank any of you enough for what you did,” said Campos’ wife, Danielle. “When you saved him, you saved my life, too.”
Through their actions, the Marines exemplified the core values of honor, courage and commitment.
“I think this sends a message to people, not just to those in uniform, but everyone,” said Bach, a Jerome, Idaho, native. “If someone needs help, then we will be there for them. I’m just proud to be part of an organization where people I’ve never met can come to me and say, ‘good job.’”
The quick reaction and training of the Marines have made a lasting impact on the regiment and its plans for the future, according to Kasper, a Canyon Lake, Texas, native.
“I am very proud of every one of the Marines who were there helping,” said Kasper. “Since this has happened, I plan to teach to the best of my ability all the rescue knowledge I know that isn’t taught in Combat Lifesaver (Course), and hope to get everyone under my charge to a Red Cross certification class.”