Lt. Col. Monroe Jones, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion commander, pins an Army Achievement Medal on Pvt. Stephen Jackson as Pvt. Christopher Morris and Bisbee Fire Department firefighter/paramedic Thomas VanDriel look on. The award ceremony took place Jan. 6 at Company B, 305th MI Bn. where both Soldiers are assigned.

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Two Soldiers who happened to be at the right place at the right time received an award for coming to the aid of an accident victim last fall. Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, presented Army Achievement Medals to Pvt. Stephen Jackson and Pvt. Christopher Morris, Jan. 6, for assisting an accident victim at the Intersection of State Route 90 and State Route 80.

The single-vehicle accident, which occurred Oct. 16, 2010, left both the car and driver stranded 100 feet up a mountain.

"Jackson and I were driving to Tombstone to meet up with friends when we saw tire marks on the ground and taillights off the side of the road," says Morris, 21. "We decided to go and see if someone had been hurt or needed help. When we saw the car and a man on the ground, we instantly started to try to help him."

The responding firefighter/paramedic Thomas VanDriel, who's served the Bisbee Department for 12 years, was surprised to see the Soldiers on the scene and says their desire to help was far from the norm.

"It's not common for people to stop when they see an accident," says Van Driel. "Many people just drive right on by and do not want to get involved. I wish more people would stop and render assistance instead of just driving by, calling the police and hoping someone else will take care of it."

But the individual who was the most shocked by the Soldier's selfless act was the accident victim himself, Alfred Turner Crutchley, 60, a retired Marine and former master gunnery sergeant.

"I could tell by their haircuts that they were military," says Crutchley, who hopes to take the men to dinner soon. "They didn't have to stop because it required pulling over on 80, which is only two lanes and very hazardous for them as well. The fact that they stopped means they went above the call of duty. I know they got some kind of meritorious medal but I think they should be given a stripe as well."

After calling 911, Jackson and Morris drew on their Combat Life Saver training to check Crutchely's responsiveness and conscious level. Once the ambulance arrived, the Soldiers helped the paramedics locate the victim and assisted carrying him down the mountain.

"The two Soldiers stayed with him and kept him calm and immobilized him until we arrived," says VanDriel. "They then continued to provide valuable assistance to my crew and myself in the treatment and extrication of the patient, on a backboard, to the ambulance. The patient was later determined to have suffered a vertebral compression fracture and to be at risk of paralysis. Their actions reflected at least two of the leadership traits that all Soldiers try to practice - Selfless Service and Courage."

In addition to drawing on the Seven Army Values, Jackson and Morris relied on the Initial Entry Training they receive as 35T, Systems Maintainers/Integrators students.

"A lot of our MOS [military occupational specialty] is attention to detail," says Jackson, 20, a former lifeguard. "You couldn't see the accident from the road. I didn't notice the taillights until we were a little ways past the scene. If we wouldn't have noticed, we couldn't have helped."

When asked what compelled the two young men to forgo their Saturday night plans with friends to help a stranger, Morris says it came down to duty. "Someone might have been hurt or needed help," he says. "We were just at the right place at the right time."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16