CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A Marine with Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group saved the life of one of his own in the pre-dawn hours here, Dec. 11.
Maj. Matthew D. Reis, the adjutant for CLR-2, received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his exceptional situational awareness and immediate action after saving another Marine from taking his own life.
Reis was in his office working around 2 a.m. for the unit’s pre-deployment exercise when he heard commotion outside. As he walked outside, he saw a fellow Marine hanging from the second floor of a nearby barracks. Reis called for assistance as he attempted to prop the Marine up. With the help of others, they lowered the Marine and Reis began to conduct CPR.
A crowd of Marines also working with Reis during CLR-2’s training exercise came outside, alerted by the commotion. Col. Dwayne A. Whiteside, the CLR-2 commanding officer, was among the concerned first responders.
“The Marine wasn’t breathing. I couldn’t feel anything with my hands on him, and his chest wasn’t rising,” said Whiteside, recalling Reis’s efforts to revive the servicemember. “The training you learn – you never know when you’re going to need it.”
The incident happened less than a week after the unit underwent “Never Leave a Marine Behind” training, which is the Marine Corps’ suicide prevention program. During that training, Marines learn the acronym R.A.C.E – Recognize the signs of distress, Ask about the signs of distress, Care about and show you care about the Marine, and Escort the Marine to help.
In addition, CLR-2 has recently gone through combat lifesaver training for their upcoming deployment.
After several minutes of resuscitative efforts, Reis successfully revived the Marine.
“Without Maj. Reis’s quick thinking and unyielding determination to care for his fellow Marine, the Marine would have been a fatality,” his award citation read.
After the award ceremony, Reis talked to the CLR-2 Marines emphasizing the importance of never leaving a Marine behind.
“We’ve got a nation that’s counting on us,” he said after the ceremony. “We’re Marines, and we’ve got to be ready to answer the call. If you’re hurting, you’ve got to reach out and get help.”
As CLR-2 prepares for deployment and the holiday season nears, stress is more common than normal. Reis encouraged the Marines to remain vigilant.
“You’ve got a purpose in life, and you have to fulfill it,” said Reis. “Now he’s got a second chance.”