While serving with his Oregon Army National Guard unit based in Coos Bay during a two-week annual training at Camp Rilea in the late 1980s, Sgt. Dan McCarron knew something was wrong when a fellow Solider complained of having a terrible headache and neck pain. McCarron knew he had to do something to help.
Terry Crump served with McCarron in the same unit with the 1249th Engineer Battalion and, witnessed what happened next. McCarron, who Crump describes as an exemplary soldier, took action that saved the soldier’s life. When McCarron’s initial pleas to his leadership to seek help for the soldier were ignored, McCarron stepped up and spoke out, ensuring the soldier received the medical attention he needed. Upon learning that McCarron was never acknowledged for his actions, Crump made it his mission to contact the Oregon Army National Guard and request that McCarron receive the recognition he deserved. Crump said that this recognition for McCarron was as important to Crump as his General Military Orders were when he served.
“Sgt. McCarron kept a close eye on the soldier, showing great concern, and as that concern grew, he voiced this matter to his platoon sargent, demanding someone take the soldier to get help,” Crump explained.
Crump added that McCarron’s persistent pleas caused his leadership to finally take action. As the soldier was being transported to receive medical attention, he went unconscious and was promptly taken to Portland for emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. Any further delay would have made the difference between life and death. “I have no doubt Dan's actions are the reason this soldier is still alive today,” Crump said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Angel Smith, command sergeant major for the Oregon National Guard’s G1, and the 821 Troop Command, said Crump reached out to the Oregon National Guard after learning McCarron was never recognized for his actions that ultimately saved the soldier’s life.
“Our state archives NCO was able to locate enough documentation to corroborate the players and the lifesaving part,” Smith said. “If not for McCarron’s efforts, the doctors stated he would have surely died.”
Smith added after serving with the Oregon National Guard for a brief stint, McCarron returned to active duty Army, where he served for the remainder of his career.
“He spent many tours in the service, places including Korea, Alaska, Hawaii and many other training bases, Smith said. “His record shows a life-long dedication as a soldier.”
Thanks to Crump’s efforts, McCarron was recognized April 10 during a ceremony at the Hall of Honors, 1249th Engineer Battalion, Salem. Before the ceremony, McCarron said he had mixed feelings .
“You don’t do these things to get recognized, but yeah, it feels good,” McCarron said. “I’m glad I was able to help, and it’s nice to know that after I thought I was out of sight and out of mind, that somebody was still looking out for me.”