POHANG, Republic of Korea -- Four Marines rescued a Korean from a burning building after a fire broke out March 8 in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
Lance Cpls. James T. Simon, Jace A. Pido, Zachary W. Regan and Tyler J. Vermillion, all members of Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, were on liberty in Pohang when the fire started.
“There were several people panicking in the streets and on the balconies of some of the buildings, and we realized there weren’t any emergency personnel in the area yet,” said Simon, a mortarman with the company, which is deployed to the Republic of Korea for Korean Marine Exchange Program 13-3, a routine training exercise between U.S. and ROK Marines. “When we saw how big the fire was, we knew we had to help out however possible.”
The Marines began going door-to-door, asking people if they needed any assistance. They came across an elderly woman who was clearly in distress but could not speak English, so they found a local resident who could speak English and had him translate, according to Regan, an infantry assaultman with the company.
“The translator relayed to us that the woman’s husband was stuck in a building that was on fire nearby and that he could not walk,” said Regan. “We could see from the outside that the building’s roof was on fire, so we went inside with the man who translated for us to go find the woman’s husband.”
When the Marines entered the man’s residence, they found him on the ground and in shock, unable to move, according to Pido, an infantry assaultman with the company.
“He appeared to be very frail, but we knew we had to get him out of there before the fire spread downstairs,” said Pido. “So, we carefully got him out and reunited him with his wife.”
Once the couple was back together and safe, the Marines continued to canvas the area for anyone else in need of assistance as emergency personnel arrived, according to Vermillion, also an infantry assaultman with the company.
“Eventually, everyone was told to clear the area because the fire and smoke were too great,” said Vermillion. “We helped make sure everyone got away alright.”
The Marines’ actions reflected greatly on their character, according to Capt. Christopher M. Frey, the commanding officer of Company B, which is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
“This is just a reminder of how truly blessed we are to work with such high-caliber individuals when it comes to doing the right thing for the right reasons,” said Frey. “It’s an honor to serve with these Marines, and their selfless actions are typical of what everyone expects of Marines around the world every day.”