Training Kicks in, Sailor Recognized for Quick Thinking

Story Number: NNS090616-12Release Date: 6/16/2009 4:01:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Jason McKnight, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The commanding officer of USS Peleliu (LHA 5) awarded a quick-thinking ordnanceman the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal at a ceremony aboard the drydocked amphibious assault ship May 29.

The medal was given to recognize Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Larry Hendrix's quick and appropriate action extinguishing a fire that had broken out while a NASSCO shipyard welder was performing contract work on an ammunition magazine bulkhead.

"I'm not surprised by what he did," said Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Lualhati Rubio. "We constantly train our junior Sailors to run toward the fires, not away, which is the normal reaction most people have. He didn't panic, which is the most important thing in any emergency."

Hendrix was in the ship's forward lower vehicle stowage when he saw flames on a welding curtain.

"The shipyard worker assigned as firewatch was trying to pull the pin on his extinguisher but couldn't get it out," said Hendrix. "So I rushed to grab a different nearby bottle and used it instead."

By the time he had done that though, the curtain fire had spread to the lagging above the scene, and he put that fire out as well.

"AOAA [Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice] Jonathon Churchill arrived, and I sent him for help, while I stood reflash watch to make sure it didn't spring back up," said Hendrix.

Hendrix did not think what he did was especially award-worthy and agreed with Rubio that he had just done what he'd been trained to do.

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