Three Okinawa Marines rescued a Marine master sergeant who was struck by oncoming traffic ― while he was attempting to save someone else.
Master Sgt. Trujillo, a Marine with 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, was hit by a car on the Okinawa Expressway Dec. 1 while attempting to rescue a motorist.
Now, the three Marines who saved him are being recognized: Two Marines have been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a third has been recommended for an award.
“As I was driving down the expressway at about 4:30 a.m. local time, I almost hit a vehicle that was flipped over in the middle of the road,” a Marine at the accident site said in a press release. The Marine pulled over to assist.
Trujillo had also pulled his vehicle over.
“Master Sgt. approached and asked if we were okay. I replied, ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘Okay, I’m going to move my car,’” the Marine said in the press release. “I saw a pair of headlights out of the corner of my eye as I turned to warn Master Sgt., but it was too late.”
Trujillo was hit by the vehicle.
Lance Cpl. Eduardo Rosariomolina, a bulk fuel specialist with Bulk Fuel Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, attempted to direct traffic, while Cpl. Matthew Dungan, also a bulk fuel specialist, administered CPR. Sgt. Justin Erler, a heavy equipment operator with Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, also trained in CPR, helped stabilize the injured Marine.
Trujillo was taken to a nearby hospital, and two days later was transported to San Diego, where he still is being treated.
Dungan and Erler were awarded Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals for their efforts to provide CPR and stabilize the injured Marine, according to Staff Sgt. Valerie Eppler, a III Marine Expeditionary Force spokeswoman.
Rosariomolina has been recommended for an award for directing traffic during the incident. That award is still pending.
There are claims that Trujillo pushed a motorist out of the way before he himself was hit by the car.
“In the process of helping out the motorist, he saw a car headed directly toward him and in an instant, MSgt Trujillo pushed the motorist out of the way and took the full brunt of the car,” a 1st Marine Regiment Facebook post reads.
But “no witnesses have been able to confirm that he saved a local motorist before he was hit,” Eppler said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.