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2d Marine Division Marine Awarded Highest Non-Combat Honor for Heroic Actions
17 Mar 2021

Sergeant Danny P. McDonald, a scout sniper currently serving with 2d Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (2/6), 2d Marine Division (2d MARDIV), received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during a ceremony today on Camp Lejeune for heroic actions that he performed at around 1:00 p.m. on May 4, 2019, at the Surf City Beach.

 

Sgt. McDonald, who was a Corporal at the time, was enjoying a day at the Surf City Beach enjoying his weekend when he heard a frantic cry for help coming from offshore. The desperate pleas were coming from a 10-year-old boy struggling to stay afloat after being caught in a rip current that had carried him approximately 300 feet out from the shoreline. After locating the boy, Sgt. McDonald, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, swam out to the boy’s aid, despite the rip current that was now carrying them both out to sea.

 

“At first, I didn’t really register what was going on at the time,” said Sgt. McDonald. “I heard him screaming from distance and I thought it was kids yelling and playing in the water. I realized the screaming was becoming more and more frequent and a lot louder, and a crowd was gathering at the beach. I got up to see what was going on and I saw him struggling out in the water. I immediately sprinted across the sand and dove into the water.”

 

Upon reaching the boy, Sgt. McDonald gained control of him and quickly assessed his condition, determining that the boy was also suffering from a seizure. McDonald then placed the boy across his chest and began the long and challenging swim back to shore against the strong rip current. Though physically exhausted, and himself struggling to stay above water himself, McDonald was finally able to reach shallow water and pull the boy to safety. Once ashore, a U.S. Navy Corpsman who happened to present as well helped McDonald render medical aid to the victim. Other Marines in the area called 9-1-1, and soon thereafter emergency services (EMS) arrived on-scene to assume control of the situation. Eyewitness accounts indicated that the boy would almost certainly have drowned had Sgt. McDonald not jumped into action, placing the boy’s safety above his own.

 

“If not me, then who,” said McDonald. “That’s what it boils down to. I would do it to anyone in any situation and I would hope someone would help me if I’m ever in trouble.”

 

When asked about the events after handing the boy over to EMS, McDonald said, “I’m super glad the kid was ok. EMS showed up and took care of him. Upon EMS showing up and making sure he was okay, I talked with the professionals over there and they told me he would be alright.”

 

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is awarded to individuals serving in any capacity in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism that do not involve actual conflict with an enemy force. In such cases that include lifesaving actions, such as Sgt. McDonald’s, the medal signifies that the award recipient risked their own life during the course of the event.

 

“It’s honestly bigger than something I could ever imagine. Just by something happening on the beach, out of the blue, turned into something this big. It’s honestly humbling,” said McDonald after talking about the award. “I’m super honored for everyone to show up in support and (thankful to) the people who presented the award and to the people involved pushing this up all the way it went. I greatly appreciate it”

 

Sgt. McDonald’s leadership had nothing but high praise for him and the actions he took that day.

 

“It exemplifies what it means to be a Marine. The initiative, fearlessness in the face of danger and hardship, it’s exactly what we want all Marines to do,” said Captain Walter Graves, company commander of Weapons Company, 2/6. He continued, “We have all of these characteristics that define Marines, our honor, our courage, and our commitment. Sgt. McDonald models each of those characteristics.”

 

See the DVIDS link below for imagery of the award ceremony that was held today. For more information about this event, please contact myself, 1st Lt. Dan Linfante, at daniel.linfante@usmc.mil or 2dMARDIVontherecord@usmc.mil.

 

-USMC-

 

For imagery and the full story, please visit

DVIDS:  https://www.dvidshub.net/image/6560583/marine-sgt-awarded-heroic-actions

Full Story: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/391647/sgt-mcdonald-receives-navy-and-marine-corps-medal


1st Lt. Dan Linfante

2nd Marine Division

PSC Box 200808