Story by LCpl Aaron Harshaw on 08/23/2019(Photos and Story by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Aaron Harshaw)
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. It was a silent Friday outside of the base library on July 12, 2019, when chaos struck the streets. A motorcyclist was hit by a car, causing his leg to gush blood, sending those around him crying for help.
Pfc. Edward Gumecindo, a machine gunner with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, immediately rushed to the scene and applied combat life saving techniques that ultimately saved the victim's leg.
For his heroic actions, Gumecindo, a Wauconda, Illinois native, was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 9, 2019.
"I was waiting for the library to open so I could print my Humvee-course certification," Gumecindo said. "I was sitting on the bench. I saw a pickup truck and heard it hit something I saw the guy with the bike on the ground so I stood up and ran to him."
"Thank God there was a member of the Cutting Edge there," said Lt. Col. Jason R. Goodale, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. "Pfc. Gumecindo, according to witnesses, was there before they could even get out of their cars. He was on top of the Marine, calming him, reassuring him, treating him for shock, and he applied a tourniquet."
According to the summary of action, Gumecindo displayed an act of heroic nature well beyond his rank and experience. His competency in applying combat life saving techniques in a real world environment characterized by fog and friction is a testament to his technical skill set as an infantryman.
"Every single day we as Marines are setting an example by the decisions we choose to or not to make," said Sgt. Maj. Chad L. Miller, battalion sergeant major, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. "Today Pfc. Gumicendo set the example and inspired all of us by choosing to act, and performing in the manner that he did."
"Too often we see media reports on the poor decisions made by a few negative influencers within the Marine Corps," Goodale said. "It is important to recognize that on any given day the vast majority of Marines and sailors are doing wonderful things, most of which go unreported."
According to the summary of action, Gumecindo promptly applied a tourniquet to the Marine's bleeding leg and remained at his side until paramedics arrived. He effectively communicated treatment rendered, allowing paramedics to assume responsibility of the medical care and ultimately saving the victims leg.
"As a Pfc., he was there and he rose to his moment," Goodale said. "Maybe he saved his life, maybe he did not, but he certainly helped that young man in his moment of need. He did what United States Marines are supposed to do."