A special operations support soldier earned the Soldier’s Medal for saving a man from a burning vehicle.
On the early morning hours of March 16, 2019, Sergeant Alexander Jabin, a Satellite Operator/Maintainer assigned to 1st Special Forces Group, was in the base when he saw a car accident.
When Sgt. Jabin reached the site of the incident, the vehicle was already on fire. Two other soldiers (Specialist Josiah Caro-Yost and Specialist Aaron Cavazos), who were there had been unable to extricate the dazed driver because of the fire’s intensity. It was at that critical moment that Jabin took the initiative.
He tried to rip down the driver’s door but failed. He then entered the car from another door and tried to unbuckle the driver. He failed. One of the other soldiers threw him a knife to help him cut the seatbelt and free the driver. But by that point, the fire had reached the trapped man and engulfed him in flames.
Jabin went in for one last effort and managed to pull the semi-conscious man out of the car, using the knife to cut the seatbelt and the driver’s clothes that were on fire. He and the other two soldiers used their shirts to put out the flames and moved the injured man away from the wreck, where they provided first aid until the medics arrived.
“The words ‘Soldier’s Medal’ and ‘for valor’ are etched into the backside of the medal,” said Lieutenant General Randy George, the commanding general of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, during the award ceremony. “Sgt. Jabin absolutely personified these words…as he reminded us by his actions, what a ready Soldier looks like. Acting with initiative, he moved quickly to save another person’s life, and he did this at the very real risk of sacrificing his own life. With this medal, it is our honor to recognize your willingness to put another’s life ahead of your own, and we are blessed to have you in our ranks.”
Jabin suffered second-degree burns to his face and hands during the action. A special operations support soldier, Sgt. Jabin is serving at the Headquarters Detachment, 4th Battalion, 1st SFG.
“I did what anyone else would have done in my position, but I did not save him by myself,” said Jabin. “In the Army, no one succeeds alone. I did my part alongside others.”
The award ceremony took place at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Memorial Wall. The driver survived.
“General Patton often reminded other Soldiers and leaders that a good plan that is violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week,” added Gen. George. “I would suggest your actions absolutely bore that out on that early morning. It was your discipline, your expertise, your fitness, your presence of mind, amidst so much uncertainty and danger that saved another person’s life.”
The Soldier’s Medal is awarded to any service member, regardless of branch, who is serving with or in the U.S. Army and performs a distinguished action in the face of adversity not involving an enemy force.
Special Forces groups are comprised of Green Berets and special operations support troops that enable the former to do their job.