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Staff Sgt. David J. Dignan (right), an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 2nd EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, stands before Col. Mark R. Hollahan (left), the 2nd MLG commanding officer, during an award ceremony aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 10, 2012. Dignan received the Bronze Star with a Combat Distinguishing Device for his actions while deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan, in support of International Security Assistance Force operations from April 9 to Sept. 1, 2011. (Photo by Cpl. Bruno J. Bego)

Photo by Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Decorated war veteran saves civilian life at local establishment

31 May 2012 | Cpl. Katherine M. Solano

During lunch at a local establishment in Holly Ridge May 16, a small group of Marines enjoyed some authentic Mexican food before heading back to their respective occupations aboard Camp Lejeune.

Toward the end of the otherwise uneventful meal, they noticed an older woman beginning to choke.

After observing for a short period, it was determined that the first young man who had jumped in to try to give her the Heimlich maneuver was unsuccessful. Gunnery Sgt. David Dignan, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 2nd EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, immediately stepped in to perform the technique the proper way, which resulted in the dislodging of the food from her throat.

According to witnesses, Dignan’s actions were quick, smooth and impressive. The woman herself was extremely appreciative and recovered from the terrifying experience quickly and without any further medical attention.

Despite his heroic actions, Dignan remained humble and modest.

“This was really no big deal for him,” said Staff Sgt. Donald Baldo, one of Dignan’s fellow 2nd EOD Marines who was eating lunch with him that afternoon, “but the fact that he did this does not surprise me at all and is consistent with his character. Dignan is an excellent leader who consistently sets the example for his fellow Marines to follow.”

Dignan didn’t seek recognition for what he did, nor did he even want to speak about it after it happened. Baldo said Dignan just wanted to run some errands and get back to his normal work day.

“He didn't focus on the event,” Baldo concluded. “He did what he did because that's the person he is, nothing more.”

Dignan is currently participating in a unit training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C.

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