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Shaffer
08-01-02, 10:22 AM
Three local Marines who disregarded their personal safety and tried to save
victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon were awarded the Navy and
Marine Corps Medal last week for their heroism.
Immediately after the hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, Staff Sgt. Robert
Wallace, who lives at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, joined a
three-man team and "courageously made his way into the smoke-filled third
and fourth corridors searching for survivors, all the while avoiding falling
debris and secondary explosions," said the citation accompanying the medal.
Wallace helped move several injured victims to the building's center
courtyard for medical treatment.
After directing the evacuation of his office, Lt. Col. James G. Kyser IV of
Alexandria moved to the crash site.
"Displaying selfless disregard for his own safety, he coolly took charge and
rapidly organized individuals into firefighting and rescue teams and
directed their efforts to reach and save victims," the citation states.
Maj. Matthew Coon of Stafford County ignored the call to evacuate and worked
his way through dark, smoke-filled corridors to help victims find their way
to safety.
"Informed that additional victims were trapped in a burning office, Major
Coon immediately joined a group of rescuers to fight the flames," the
citation states.
The medals were presented to Wallace, Kyser and Coon by Maj. Gen. Kevin B.
Kuklok, an assistant deputy commandant of the Corps, during a sunset parade
July 23 at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington.