Three U.S. Marines are being hailed for their quick thinking and bravery after dealing with a threatening passenger in the skies over the Pacific this week.
Capt. Daniel Kult, Sgt. John Dietrick and Pfc. Alexander Meinhardt, all Marines hailing from 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, sprang into action during an international flight on Monday, when a passenger started acting in a threatening manner and needed to be restrained.
The North Carolina-based Marines were flying back to the States from Tokyo during a deployment to Japan, when they overheard another passenger on the flight start making threatening comments. The passenger then barricaded himself in one of the aircraft’s lavatories. Once inside, the passenger began screaming his threats to the flight staff.
“While watching a movie during my flight from Japan to Texas, I started to hear screaming coming from the restroom on board,” said Sgt. Dietrick, an infantry assault section leader from Mechanicsville, Virginia.
“When I took off my headphones, I heard a man sounding very distraught and screaming from the bathroom.”
Dietrick and the other Marines acted quickly when they heard the threatening passenger begin to shout at the flight crew through the door. They quickly stacked up outside the secured lavatory door. A flight attendant then unlocked the door, allowing the three Marines to push it open, tackle the passenger to the floor, and secure his hands with a pair of flex cuffs.
“We just assessed the situation and acted,” Capt. Kult said. “Working with the flight crew, we got the door open and from there worked together to subdue him. We didn’t take time to talk it over. We just got ready and did what we needed to help.”
Once his hands were bound, the Marines escorted the threatening passenger to his seat, where they sat around him to ensure he remained restrained for the remainder of the flight. The pilots then redirected the aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport.
“I knew I had to step in when he became a danger to others and himself,” said PFC Meinhardt, a mortarman from Sparta, Wisconsin. “I didn’t think twice about helping restrain him through the rest of the flight.”
The man was taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation and the Marines have been recognized by their command for not only being brave enough to step up, but for being level headed and professional throughout the ordeal.
“I happen to know all three of them, two of them well, and they are all what I would call ‘men of action,'” Lt. Col. Chris Niedziocha, commander of 1/6, said in a statement. “I’m continually amazed by and grateful for the people we have in this battalion.”