Quick Thinking Marine Saves Lance Corporal's Life

Quick Thinking Marine Saves Lance Corporal's Life

Sgt Michael Joseph, right, avionics technician with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, receives the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Heart Saver Hero Award from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Commander LtGen John A. Toolan at an award ceremony March 13, 2015, at the Naval Health Clinic Hawaii aboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The American Heart Association recognized Joseph for saving a fellow Marine suffering from a heart attack. Joseph performed CPR before paramedics came to the Marine's aid. Because of Joseph's actions, the Marine is expected to make a full recovery. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Sarah Dietz.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (March 13, 2015) - A lot ran through Sgt Michael Joseph's mind when he saw the body of a lance corporal on the pavement outside the movie theater on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 17.

He recognized the signs from his brother's fatal cardiac arrest. He knew if cardiovascular resuscitation wasn't conducted immediately, the Marine would die.

Joseph began CPR. The lance corporal recovered.

That's why Joseph received the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Heart Saver Hero Award from the American Heart Association at the Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, March 13, 2015, aboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for his actions.

"It is interesting to me that we have young men and women who step up and take action when action is needed," said U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Commander LtGen John A. Toolan at Joseph's award ceremony. "It's the epitome of who we are as Marines. ‘American Sniper' talks about the concept of a sheep and sheepdog — he is a sheepdog, ooh-rah."

The morning of the incident, the 25-year-old with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 attended annual training with his squadron at the base theater. Feeling tired and not wanting to fall asleep, Joseph headed out to his car to grab an energy drink.

That's when he heard a thud, a car alarm and noticed a Marine roll on the ground and suddenly stop. He rushed over and realized the Marine had stopped breathing.

"I called 911 and saw two sailors around me and told them to start CPR," Joseph said. "They said they weren't trained, and I knew I had to."

For cardiac arrest victims, chances of survival dramatically drop to less than 25 percent if no CPR is started within four minutes, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Hepps, with the Human Resources Department, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii.

Joseph's 18-year-old brother, Robert, passed away from cardiac arrest. Because no one around Robert knew CPR when he suffered a heart attack, Joseph made it a point to become CPR certified.

"I wanted to know why he died," Joseph said. "Everyone should know CPR. I am familiar with what could happen without it."

The Ritchie County, West Virginia, native said he was amazed at the timing of the incident. He completed a CPR refresher course the Friday before the Tuesday incident. He recalled the lance corporal's mother telling him, "God sent you to my son."

"To me, it's just what Marines do," Joseph said. "It's a big deal to everyone else, but to me, its just what we do. It means a lot more that he is a Marine, after the fact, because of the brotherhood, but I would have done the same thing if he were anyone else."

Joseph's wife, Nicole, and their son, Miles, who is 3 years old, came to the event.

"I'm so proud of him," Nicole said. "He is very humble and didn't expect anything in return. Miles (is proud of him too). He says he wants to ‘fix helicopters and fight bad guys with my dad one day.'"

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