Soldier truckers recognized for heroism

| Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Four trucking soldiers with the Military Traffic Management Command have been recognized for heroism after providing lifesaving measures for three Marines injured in a traffic accident.

The Army Commendation Medal has been awarded to Sgt. Maj. Sara Jennings, Sgt. 1st Class Darrel Kessinger, Sgt.1st Class Robert Perkins and Sgt. Robert Swanson. The four soldiers were in Kuwait as part of MTMC support to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They were recognized for their actions on the evening of Jan. 27 in Kuwait, when they encountered a vehicle accident and three injured Marines.

The four non-commissioned officers provided immediate first aid to the injured Marines and summoned emergency first-aid assistance. The accident immediately attracted a large crowd of locals. The MTMC soldiers formed a protective ring at the accident site and secured the weapons the Marines were carrying.

Jennings, Kessinger and Perkins, assigned to the 598th Transportation Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, were awarded their medals Oct. 1 by Lt. Col. David Pemberton, deputy group commander.

Swanson received his award in a similar ceremony Sept. 26 officiated by Maj. Jacqueline Lett, at his assigned unit, the 836th Transportation Battalion, Yokohama, Japan.

The award participants said their actions were a natural reflex.

“This was the only way to react, and I am sure that anyone else would have done the same,” Jennings said.

Perkins had similar comments.

“To us, it seemed nothing special,” Perkins said. “You drive down the road, see a military vehicle wrecked and then it’s just natural that you stop and help your fellow countrymen.”

Jennings is the group’s sergeant major. Kessinger serves as an operations NCO, and Perkins serves as a senior human resources manager.

Swanson, a cargo NCO, said he followed training and instinct.

“To me, it was like a scene from a movie, only no one yells, ‘Action!’ or ‘Cut!’,” Swanson said. “We came across fellow Americans and troops in need of help, and we reacted. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate for one second.”

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