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Sailor Awarded Navy/Marine Corps Medal
By Journalist 2nd Class Cherwanda Lancaster
Navy News Service
April 13, 2005

USS PREBLE - A Sailor assigned to USS Preble (DDG 88) was awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Medal for heroism, at a ceremony April 4 aboard the ship at its homeport at Naval Station San Diego.

Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Medina, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, presented Seaman (SW) Brit L.J. Garrett the medal for heroic acts performed Aug. 31 while on a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Maritime Interception Operations.

While training a seaman on the guided-missile destroyer's flight deck, a mechanical failure caused a helicopter to crash onto the ship's flight deck during landing.

After pushing the seaman out of harm's way, into the hangar bay and securing the door to protect those inside, Garrett ran back onto the flight deck to provide first aid to an air crewman who was thrown from the helicopter. Only after the situation stabilized, and when ordered, did Garrett depart the scene to receive medical attention for his own injury.

"The helicopter crash we experienced that day was a terrifying experience," said Preble's supervisor, Senior Chief Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrical) (SW) Kane Valek. "Seaman Garrett did not freeze, he did not act on his own self-preservation instinct. Instead, he immediately went to protect his shipmates. He went to the aid of others. That is not something you can teach or coach. That is heroism."

Garrett said he was just doing his job, and any Sailor in his predicament would have done the same.

"I felt as though it was my obligation to help those in need," said Garrett. "At the time, I didn't think about getting hurt or injured. All I could think about was helping my shipmates and getting them to somewhere safe."

The Navy/Marine Corps Medal is awarded to Sailors and Marines who distinguish themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy. For acts of life-saving, or attempted lifesaving, it is required that the action be performed at the risk of one's own life.

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