TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Maj. Gen. Steven W. Busby, commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, awarded Cpl. Kyle Wells, motor transportation operator, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and Cpl. Nathaniel Navarro, mortarman, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at the Combat Center’s Flag Pole Aug. 16, for their heroic efforts in potentially saving the life of Cpl. Rebecca Fletcher, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1, earlier this year.
In the early evening of June 7, 2013, a collision between a motorcycle driven by Fletcher and a car occurred on Highway 62. Fletcher was seriously injured and bleeding profusely from a leg injury.
Wells was the first on the scene. Within seconds, Navarro and Lance Cpl. Joshua Phelps, machine gunner, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, rushed to Fletchers aid.
Wells instinctively used Fletcher’s belt to stem the flow of blood as Navarro drove his knee into her femoral artery, further slowing the flow of blood. Phelps grabbed a stick and made an impromptu tourniquet and continued to apply pressure.
The three Marines helped lift Fletcher onto a backboard and a stretcher. She was transported via ambulance to a nearby landing zone, and then airlifted to Palm Springs, where she received medical care. The Marines’ actions helped save Fletcher’s life.
“This is exactly who we are after,” Busby said at the award ceremony. “These two Marines here, for me, represent exactly what we’re after in our (noncommissioned officers) and Marines. They applied their lifesaving skills and what they’ve been taught in their training and saved the life of Cpl. Fletcher. They made a difference that day.”
Busby also thanked Phelps who could not attend the ceremony after congratulating Wells and Navarro.