View Full Version : Boca Raton Marine awarded medal for saving life in Iraq

10-08-07, 08:49 AM
South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Boca Raton Marine awarded medal for saving life in Iraq
20-year-old earns a medal for actions on patrol in Iraq

By Tina Shah

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

October 8, 2007

It was a cold February day in Iraq's Al Anbar province, but Lance Cpl. Shaun Evans perspired as he patrolled near the Euphrates River. He'd strapped on his gear, everything from ammunition to prepackaged food to medical gauze, grenades and a full water pack on his back.

The 20-year-old Marine from Boca Raton was on a mission. His squad had received a tip about a weapons cache. His eyes scanned: left, right, back and then front. Left, right. Boom!

"Sir, get down in the field. I'm a combat lifesaver," Evans barked at Lt. Kevin Young, his platoon commander, amid the smoke from the explosion.

Four men were down, including Joel Hernandez, the squad's hospital corpsman. Hernandez was bleeding heavily from his eyes and nose.

Evans, 3rd Battalion 6th Marines, quickly ran through the steps he was taught in his combat lifesaver training.

Hernandez lay limp on the ground, not breathing. Evans pried open his mouth and cleared his airway; he began to hear faint breaths.

Evans tried to control the bleeding. He pulled Hernandez's tongue, which had swollen three times its normal size, out of his mouth to help him breathe easily.

A Marine in his squad grabbed a radio to call for help.

"All I wanted was Doc Hernandez to be OK," Evans said recently, when he was home for a 30-day leave after spending seven months in Iraq.

Hernandez survived, and for Evans' "initiative, perseverance and dedication to duty," he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a rare honor for a lance corporal.

"He reacted so well," Young said. "It's really not his job as a rifleman."

Lance corporals usually are responsible for security of their squad, said Young, 24. But Evans stepped up when his squad needed him, said Young, a Greenville, S.C., native.

Raised in a military family in Boca Raton, Evans joined the Marines a year after graduating from Olympic Heights High School in 2005 to "leave Florida for a bit." He followed the footsteps of his good friend, Jonathan Ortiz, who is now assigned to a Marine Corps Reserve unit based west of West Palm Beach.

Evans' training began in November at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and included training at Mojave Viper at Twentynine Palms Marine base in California to acclimate to Iraq conditions. He deployed to Iraq in January.

A two-week course as a combat lifesaver taught him the emergency-response techniques critical in combat.

"It becomes second nature," Evans said of the training.

His mother, Katherine Evans, has been a Navy hospital corpsman, like Hernandez, for the past 17 years. Shaun and his two sisters grew up watching their mother work at military bases throughout the country.

"He was always a Marine, always a warrior," Katherine Evans said, noting she has photos of Evans dressed in camouflage clothing as a child. Her son, she said, has a "medical aptitude" that guided him that February day in Al Anbar province.

When he returned to Camp Habbaniyah that day, he sat on his bed.

"Evans, you OK?" a friend asked.

"No," Evans answered.


"Bad day," Evans said.

Eight months later, Evans said he does not recall that day as a traumatic event. He looks back and laughs about how dazed he must have been in his room.

Days later, Evans learned he would receive the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for saving Hernandez's life.

Asked about the medal, he said only, "That's good. I just did my job."

Evans spent his leave being a 21-year-old: going out, partying and eating Taco Bell food, which he craved in Iraq. He left home Sept. 23, headed back for training. For the next seven months he will be in the United States. Then another seven months in Iraq. He hopes to join his buddy Ortiz in the reserves one day.

Evans has had friends killed in the war but that does not discourage him about going back to Iraq, he said. In fact, when he joined the Marines, he chose to enlist for active duty, knowing he'd be sent into combat.

"It's the risk we take. It's what we signed up for," Evans said.


11-13-07, 05:44 PM
heh thats my friend shaun and myself in that article.

11-15-07, 01:39 PM
I also live in Boca Raton, www.bocaorganics.com (http://www.bocaorganics.com) They can not say anything about the young Marines today, they serve with honor. Keep the great stories comming, Semper Fi- George:marine: