Weekend Update: July 13 2013

Marine Saves Child’s Life, Awarded Air Force Medal

U.S. Air Force BGen James B. Hecker, right, addresses the audience after awarding the Air Force Achievement Medal to SSgt Benjamin G. Whalen on July 8, 2013, at the 18th Wing Headquarters on Kadena Air Base. Photo by Cpl Alyssa Gunton

By Cpl Alyssa Gunton
July 11, 2013

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - SSgt Benjamin G. Whalen was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal July 8 during a ceremony at the 18th Wing Headquarters on Kadena Air Base for rescuing a 14-year-old boy at the Hagerstrom Pool on the air base on June 25, 2013.

U.S. Air Force BGen James B. Hecker, commander of the 18th Wing, presented the medal to Whalen and recognized 10 other individuals who played vital roles in the rescue.

“In the face of crisis, these individuals spurred to action and collectively helped save the life of a member of our Kadena family,” said Hecker. “In my eyes, these men and women are heroes, and I am grateful to be recognizing them for their exemplary actions.”

Whalen noticed the adolescent lying at the bottom of the pool while he was swimming with his family on June 25, 2013.

“I saw him at the bottom of the pool and my instincts and training kicked in,” said Whalen, the communications navigations staff noncommissioned officer in charge with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It was natural — there was someone in trouble, and I had the skills to save him.” To continue reading, click here.