FORT STEWART, GA -- On a cold December day in the small river town of Port Neches, Texas, Pfc. Aaron Sheffield risked his life to save another.

The Apache helicopter armament/electrical/avionic systems repairer with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, witnessed an explosion at an apartment building and realized that he was the first person on the scene. What he saw next steered him into action.

The front of an apartment was blown off leaving three walls standing. The explosion revealed a man yelling for help who was caught in it.

Frantically, the man's daughter tried to rescue her father from the ensuing fire through a locked door.

Sheffield said he could see the man was bery badly burned and was yelling for help.

That's when Sheffield sprung into action by kicking down the door and assisting the man out of the second story building to safety. Further investigation by authorities revealed that the explosion and fire were ignited when a cigarette was lit following a gas leak in the residence.

Sheffield thinks that most Soldiers would have taken the same actions. "I just happened to be there," he said.

Sheffield thinks that most Soldiers would have taken the same actions. "I just happened to be there," he said.

The 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo awarded the Soldier's Medal to 19-year-old Sheffield, in a ceremony held at the Hunter Club Friday. The medal was awarded to Sheffield due to the great courage he displayed while on military leave from Advanced Individual Training.

Cucolo expressed delight in Sheffield's bravery and said it gave him immense pride to have someone like Sheffield in the Army. Cucolo went on to say that young people in America are sometimes subject to get a "bad rep."

"I see them in Iraq, I see them in Afghanistan," said Cucolo. "I see them all over the world doing incredible things, and I am very proud of this generation of Americans between the ages of 17-25. Beating in the heart of every Soldier is the unexplainable desire to take care of others."
Cucolo stated that as a Soldier, training should be equal to all occasions and conditions due to the nature of the Army. He wants all Soldiers to show the bravery and courage that was exhibited by Sheffield.

"We don't know where we are going to have to go or what we are going to have to do," Cucolo said referring to missions in the Army. "Quite frankly it doesn't matter. We have to be ready for just about anything."