MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
Never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
Keep you finger straight and off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
Keep the weapon on safe until you ready to fire.
Weapon safety rules are taken seriously and are strictly enforced. Marines and sailors are required to follow these important safety rules while in any situation where a weapon is present.
While on a rifle range safety is paramount, so when a safety hazard arises it must be handled quickly to ensure the safety of the personnel on the range.
When a Marine, firing on the range, experienced a seizure while on the firing line, HM3 Kevin Stapleton handled the situation like a hero, “I was just walking the length of the range looking for any problems, I was flagged down by the coach of the convulsing Marine for help,” said Stapleton. “When I got to her the Marine was experiencing seizures, at the same time the Marine still had a hold of the weapon and was firing rounds.”
“Once we regained control of the weapon I held the Marine’s head and just helped her ride out the convulsions,” said Stapleton.
After the Marine stopped convulsing, clearing the Marine’s airway in a professional and timely manner, Stapleton prepared the Marine for immediate MEDEVAC to the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.
Because of the fast and professional actions of Stapleton, the Marines life was saved. The Marine has since recovered.
“I don’t feel that anything I did was really heroic or anything, I was just doing my job like anyone else,” Stapleton modestly said.
Stapleton was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal by Col. David Leppelmeier.
The award citation reads as follows:
For superior performance of his duties while serving as the live fire rifle range corpsman in support of Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune on 3 December 2007. "During a live firing cycle on a M-16A2 rifle range 200 meter firing sequence of approximately 30 Marines, a shooting Marine became overcome with seizures, convulsions and erratic behavior. Racing to the Marine's side and assisting the coach in securing a live weapon, HM3 Stapleton immediately tended to the downed Marine who was now unconscious. HM3 Stapleton worked deliberately and professionally to clear the Marine's airway, render perfect and timely medical attention and assist in the Marine's immediate Medevac to Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital.
Because of his timely actions, HM3 Stapleton saved the life of this Marine who has since recovered and was medically diagnosed." HM3 Stapleton's initiative, presence of mind, professional expertise, sense of mission accomplishment, and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.