On Sept. 6, 2023, two Marine recruiters had just arrived at their Chicago office when they heard a loud noise outside the building.
Staff Sgts. Amilcar Marroquinsalinas and Eric Kinglewis rushed to the sound, according to a Marine Corps release.
A mangled motorcycle lay on the side of the road, debris littered the road from curb to curb and the driver of a car that had hit the motorcycle was shaken, possibly in shock.
The motorcyclist lay motionless on the road. Though a crowd of people had gathered, no one was helping. Some were even recording the scene on their phones.
Kinglewis and Salinas didn’t hesitate.
“I felt like I knew what to do and should be on the scene to help,” Kinglewis said.
Marroquinsalinas told Kinglewis to grab the first aid kit from the recruiting office and call 911.
When he returned, the pair began assessing the injured motorcyclist’s injuries. Marroquinsalinas found a severe laceration on the rider’s leg.
He began to apply pressure to the wound and wrapped it with a clean bandage from the kit.
“Staff Sgt. Kinglewis and Staff Sgt. Marroquinsalinas performed well under stress and helped provide the necessary first aid in order to save a life,” said Sgt. Maj. Nathaniel Eirich, the Recruiting Station Chicago’s sergeant major. “As Marines, we are trained to help people in need, no matter the time, place, or circumstance, and that is exactly what these Marines did.”
Police officers who soon arrived on the scene applied another tourniquet to the leg injury. Paramedics then arrived, providing further support and transporting the rider to a medical facility.
“Looking back on the situation, I was able to put my training to good use, keep my cool, and help a young man make it home,” Kinglewis said.
This is far from the first time a Marine recruiter has saved a life.
In 2015, Sgt. Cody Leifheit was awakened in his Lewiston, Idaho, apartment to the sounds of screaming. At first, he thought it might just be the 2 a.m. bar crowd making noise.
But when it didn’t stop, he ran outside and down the street to find a 19-year-old man hanging from a rope attached to a tree branch 25 feet off the ground.
Friends and family would later say that the man had talked about killing himself, but friends didn’t believe he would do it.
Leifheit clambered up the tree, reached Austin Tow, a friend of the man, who’d climbed to try and help him, but stalled, worrying that by cutting him loose he might be seriously injured when he hit the ground.
“Hey, I’m a Marine and I’m here to help your friend.” Leifheit told Tow.
The sergeant held the tree with one arm and lifted the hanging man with the other, easing the pressure so Tow could cut the rope.
Leifheit then used the tree as a kind of makeshift backboard, performing chest compressions on the unconscious man.
The man began breathing. But he would lose and regain his heartbeat twice more before first responders arrived. After two days in a medically induced coma, the man survived.
In 2021, Staff Sgt. Joseph Maldonado, a recruiter in Fullerton, California, was driving to work when he came upon a three-car pile up on the highway.
He heard a man calling for help in a red Mercedes laid on its side.
“I did what I did because it’s what we do as Marines. I saw the accident and heard the man yelling and knew I could be of help,” Maldonado said. ” I saw where I could help and simply did something about it.”
Maldonado got a knife from a bystander and crawled into the vehicle to cut the man’s seat belt and help him get out.
As he was helping him the man began having a seizure. Maldonado had to pull him to the back of the vehicle so he could kick out the front windshield to make safe exit.
After clearing the man out of the Mercedes and carrying him with the help of bystanders away from the car, he returned to the vehicle and found the man’s insulin and medication. Maldonado handed the medication to a police officer who arrived on the scene and continued treating the man’s seizure.
On Feb. 10, 2020, Sgt. Nathan Miller, a recruiter in Pembroke, Virgina, was driving to the office in the morning and came upon a car bent in half following a crash.
He pulled up to the vehicle. At first the driver looked ok, but Miller rolled down his window to ask.
“My son’s in the backseat of the car, call 911.”
As he listened, he saw a car seat. Miller grabbed his first aid kit and ran to the back of the crashed vehicle.
“It was a dream, is what it felt like,” Miller said in a Marines.mil video interview.
The sergeant started applying first aid to the 2-year-old and immediately started thinking of his own 2-year-old son.
The boy received follow on medical care and the sergeant said that he would have no long-term health issues due to the crash.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.
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