NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- A Sailor aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Medal Feb. 19, for his heroism while saving the life of a fellow Sailor involved in a motorcycle accident last year.
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Jason Murphy and two former service members witnessed a motorcyclist who lost control and crashed at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in Norfolk on the morning of March 22.
Immediately after colliding with a wall, Brian Anthony Davis, a former Sailor stationed aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), was flung into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
"There wasn't much time to think," said Murphy. "We saw the situation and knew what had to be done, so we turned our thoughts into action."
Murphy and former shipmate, Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Edgar Ardon, immediately approached the scene where Damage Controlman 3rd Class Elisandro Leal spotted a helmet in the water, and then saw Davis floating facedown.
While Leal called emergency services for help, Murphy and Ardon quickly stripped down to their undergarments, dove into the 52 degree water, and swam about 25 yards in the morning darkness to retrieve Davis, who was unconscious and drowning.
The Carl Vinson Sailors then pulled Davis back to shore, where they initiated CPR and revived him while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Murphy said he dismisses any notion of being labeled a hero for his actions.
"We were just doing the right thing; what we should have done," said Murphy. "I don't feel like a hero. I was just at the right place at the right time, and I tried to help someone out. It all happened so fast, but everything fell into place."
Ardon, the other Carl Vinson Sailor involved in the lifesaving effort, was also awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and is now working in government service in California. Leal, who was on-scene and assisted in alerting authorities of the accident, was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal last summer.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the second highest noncombatant medal awarded by the Navy and ranks above the Bronze Star. While it is awarded under circumstances that do not include enemy conflict, Sailors and Marines who are awarded the medal have usually engaged in honorable actions that put their own lives at risk. Former recipients of the prestigious award include President John F. Kennedy and Carl Brashear.
"This is a real honor and privilege," said Murphy. "I am very appreciative, and I am really proud to have been a part of something that deserves an award like this. Mainly, though, I'm just happy (Davis) made it out okay and is back with his family now."
Carl Vinson is undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH, Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/ .