MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER, Bridgeport -- “Corpsman! Corpsman!” The voice echoed through the trees. Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Jones and Petty Officer 3rd Class Diamond Green snatched up their medical bags and sprinted towards the sound of distress. For both, instincts kicked in and they were ready for whatever awaited them.
“I didn’t know what had happened, but I was determined to help whoever was in need,” said Jones, a hospital corpsman with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
On Oct. 4, while riding his motorcycle through Sonora Pass on Highway 108, 67-year-old John Hill’s brakes malfunctioned. He was unable to slow down enough to make a sharp turn and he lost control, careening off the side of the road and in to a ravine.
“I don’t know how long I was down there,” said John Hill, a California native. “I’m pretty sure I was knocked out at some point,” he added.
A group of bikers were riding along the road when they heard pleas for help. The bikers pulled over to investigate and discovered Hill in the ravine, injured. They flagged down the nearest passing car, alerted the driver and he sped off to seek help. The driver located the MCMWTC.
“Two civilians pulled up in a vehicle and said that someone had been in an accident down the road and needed help,” said Major Jason Copeland, the operations officer for 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.
After listening to the Samaritans’ pleas, Copeland signaled the need for corpsmen. Jones and Green were within earshot of Copeland’s shouts, and responded immediately. Both believed a Marine had been injured.
“I heard voices calling for a corpsman,” said Green, a native of Tacoma, Wash. “I thought a Marine needed help,” he added.
Jones and Green quickly gathered their medical kits and jumped into the waiting vehicle. After a 10-minute drive, they arrived at the scene of the crash. Once there, the corpsmen quickly took charge and directed efforts to help the injured motorcyclist. Hill, an Army veteran, knew that he was in good hands with military personnel by his side.
“I was so happy when I saw them,” said Hill.
With the help of Copeland and a few other Marines, they lifted the motorcycle that had pinned Hill to the ground. With the patient free, Jones and Green quickly got to work addressing the wounds.
“He had a gash across his face and nose, and complained of pains in his hand, back, and ankle,” said Jones a native of Philadelphia.
The two corpsmen wrapped his head in a loose bandage, and worked to stabilize his neck and back in case of spinal injuries. As their training took over, the two Corpsmen worked with Hill as if he were one of their Marines.
“Jones was asking him questions to try to keep his mind off the accident,” said Green.
The Corpsmen and Marines kept Hill stabilized until emergency services could arrive on the scene. Firefighters and paramedics with Engine 5230 from Station 52 Mountain Warfare Fire Department in Bridgeport were dispatched.
“We arrived to find the Corpsmen had already stabilized the injured man,” said Josh Dart, a firefighter and paramedic from Station 52. “The Marines led us down to where the man was laying and we loaded him onto a field expedient litter.”
Marines and firefighters carried Hill back on to the road, where he was turned over to Mono County medics. He was then loaded into an ambulance, where he was taken to a field near Sonora Pass in order to be medically evacuated by a care flight unit. He received further care at Renown Regional Medical Center and is in stable condition.
After completing their immediate care with Hill, the two Corpsmen returned to their unit at MCMWTC to resume their mountain warfare training.
For Green and Jones, it was just another day at the office. For Hill, he was glad the office happened to be nearby.
“I am thankful that they were there to help me,” said Hill.