Schofield Soldier Receives Medal for Act of Heroism
March 12, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (Army News Service, March 12, 2008) -- Driving upon the scene of a horrific accident and finding a lone victim near death is a tragic scenario no one wants to encounter. For one Schofield Soldier, that scenario became a reality July 30, 2006.
Second Lt. Daniel O'Conner, 25th Infantry Division, was driving on Kaukonahua Road when he came upon a motorcycle accident. With a wounded man lying in a pool of blood and gasoline leaking from the overturned motorcycle, O'Connor jumped to action. He rendered first aid and saved the man's life.
During a ceremony Feb. 26 at Schofield Barracks, O'Conner was recognized for his valiant actions, and was awarded the Soldiers Medal -- the highest award a Soldier can receive in peacetime.
O'Connor, who was a specialist with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment "Gimlets" at the time of the accident, has since been to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant chemical officer.
He attributes his Army training with providing him the skill set needed to instinctively react to the life and death situation.
"I think the training I got is far more valuable when used in this instance than any other case," he said.
The victim, Stephen Shigetani, who attended the ceremony with his son Stephen Shigetani Jr., doesn't remember much about the accident but is thankful for O'Connor's quick action.
"He saved my life," said Shigetani. "I'm glad he found me. My kids would be orphans today. I love the guy."
Lead investigators of the accident, as well as the victim's family, believe had it not been for the efforts of O'Connor, Shigetani wouldn't have survived.
Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, commanding general, 25th ID, attended the ceremony and recognized both men for their courage.
"This is important for all of us; you never know when that potential and challenging and tragic accident might occur. It's an important thing to recognize not only Lt. O'Connor, but the man he had the opportunity to provide roadside assistance, literally and figuratively, which ended up as a success story in saving the life of a great man," he said.