MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When the Jacksonville, N.C. police department received help Saturday from two Marines in apprehending a fleeing suspect, they could hardly have done better than having the assistance of Sgt. Jason E. Millspaugh and Lance Cpl. Clifford L. Ray.
Millspaugh, a 25-year-old Sanford, Fla., native and assistant facilities chief, Headquarters Company, 6th Marine Regiment, played center for both the regimental football team as well as for his high school. Ray, a 20-year-old New Castle, Ky., native, is a chaser for the regiment, escorting prisoners from the base brig to appointments and courts-martial the prisoners must attend.
The pair of Leathernecks were taking a quick break from their part-time job doing facilities maintenance work for a local business Saturday. While sitting in the back of their truck and enjoying some cold drinks, a commotion arose as officers from the Jacksonville Police Department surrounding a suspect in the process of placing him under arrest.
“It’s just one of those things you don’t really notice. But then they brought out the drug dog,” said the 2003 Henry County High School graduate.
In the moment it took Ray to turn his head away and back, the suspect broke away from the police and a foot pursuit ensued.
“When we saw that, Ray looked at me and said, ‘Do you want to go after him?’ I said, ‘Yeah,’ and we went,” said Millspaugh, a 1999 Seminole High School graduate.
Millspaugh and Ray chased down the suspect, cornering him between a tree and a car. When the suspect put his arms to his sides and told the two Marines he was giving up, they took no chances.
“He had his arms out, but he balled his fists up. I probably would have just stood there if he didn’t do that, but I didn’t feel like getting punched,” Millspaugh recalled.
Ray and Millspaugh tackled the man and pinned him to the ground until law enforcement officers could arrive. Their actions that day earned them thanks and praise from the police department as well as from their fellow Marines.
1st Sgt. Jason L. Joiner, company first sergeant, Headquarters Company, 6th Marines, also had words of commendation for his two warriors.
“Just outstanding,” Joiner said. “As far as I’m concerned, they did what every Marine is trained to do: you see a situation, you react to the situation, then you act to close the situation.”
Both Millspaugh and Ray downplayed their acts as the simple behavior of responsible citizens.
“I’m from a horse farm in Kentucky,” said Ray in a slow southern drawl. “Where I’m from, when you do something wrong you’ve got to pay for it.”
Millspaugh agreed, lending his status as a family man to the discussion.
“I would want any citizen on the street doing the same thing, especially since he was [arrested on drug charges],” said Millspaugh. “I’ve got a six-month-old daughter and I’m all about getting [criminals] off the street.”