By ANDREW TATE,
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
A Soldier with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command was awarded the Soldier’s Medal on Feb. 13 for saving the life of a civilian in Spring Lake, N.C., by pulling her from the inside of her vehicle after she’d been in an accident that left her unconscious.
Staff Sgt. Tyrone A. Mitchell of the 8th Military Information Support Battalion received the Soldier’s Medal during a ceremony at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C.. Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, the commander of USASOC, presented the award.
Mitchell earned the medal for his actions May 20, 2012, when, while heading to the store in Spring Lake, N.C., he saw an overturned vehicle on the side of the road. He pulled off the road and went to assess the situation. He noticed that the driver of the car was unconscious and that there was a haze in the car.
Not knowing if the smoke was from a fire or just the remnants of debris from the airbag being deployed, he told a passerby to phone in for help and rushed to the car. With no regard for his own life, he broke the rear glass of the car and climbed in and pulled the driver out to safety. By the time he got her out, emergency personal arrived. The driver survived the accident. During the rescue, Mitchell received several lacerations and abrasions.
Mitchell was humbled by the award and said what he did was what anybody would have done in the same situation.
“I don’t think you really think about it that much when you see a situation and you know that someone else needs help,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t think about it; I just reacted.
“At the end of the day, any service member, if they were in the same situation, would’ve done the exact same thing,” he added. “You feel as if you’re a public servant; you serve the people of the United States. If you see someone in trouble, either in uniform or out of uniform, you feel that you have to try to do something to help them or keep them out of harm’s way.”
Cleveland gave praise to Mitchell’s actions and said that his heroic deed embodies what the Army is all about.
“You may be called upon to do actions that may be seen by others as brave, as heroic,” he said. “It is part of the organization that we joined. It is a part of the ethos of the community that we are part of.”
Mitchell’s supervisor, Capt. Nicholas Ennis, said that what he did was second nature to Mitchell.
“He just shrugged his shoulders and did what he had to do,” Ennis said.
“That speaks volumes to his character and his humility,”Ennis said. “He is everything that’s right with the Noncommissioned Officer Corps, everything that is right with the Army. He is everything that’s right as being a human being. He is one of the most phenomenal NCOs I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”
The Soldier’s Medal was introduced in 1926. The medal is awarded to any person of the armed forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. It is the highest honor a Soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation.