ATLANTA (NNS) -- A Navy officer recently commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Atlanta Consortium and recent graduate of Georgia State University, was recognized for heroism during a ceremony on board the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) campus, June 14.
Ensign Sean Barner, from Stone Mountain, Ga., was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions occuring May 3, 2009, when he intervened and stopped two armed assailants during an attempted robbery, and then provided immediate medical assistance by applying tourniquets to one of the gun shot victims.
Family members and coworkers witnessed the award presentation in the O'Keefe building's Joint Forces auditorium at Georgia Tech.
The Atlanta Consortium is made up of schools with NROTC units at Georgia Tech and Morehouse University. Georgia State University is a cross-town affiliate of the Georgia Tech unit.
The incident took place in College Park, Ga., while Barner attended a party with five men and four women. Two masked and armed men entered the apartment while Barner and a friend were outside. Upon returning to the apartment, Barner was met by the two armed robbers who had rounded up the men and women in the living room.
After being robbed of their personal belongings, the six men were ordered to a back bedroom while two women were taken to a second bedroom with one assailant while the other two women were taken to the living room with the other assailant.
In the back bedroom, Barner and the other five men overheard the perpetrator's plan to rape the women and shoot all the victims.
"Knowing that this was not a nice area of town, I brought along a firearm which I left in my book bag," said Barner, who is licensed under the Georgia Weapons Carry laws. "I was lucky that the room I was locked in had my book bag and had not been searched."
Barner escaped the bedroom with his firearm and went to the living room where he fired several shots at one of the armed assailants causing him to flee.
Barner then went to the bedroom where two females were being held with by the other assailant. He kicked down the door and entered the room, shooting the assailant and causing him to flee out the window.
That assailant was later found dead near the apartment from gunshot wounds. One of the females was also caught in the ensuing crossfire and received gunshot wounds.
"I'm glad I took my Marine Corps training seriously," said Barner. "I was blessed to have the ability to handle the situation the way I did and prevent anyone else from getting further injured."
In 2009, Barner, then a sophomore at Georgia State, was an active duty Marine and member of the Atlanta Consortium and the NROTC unit at Georgia Tech. He was attending Georgia State University as part of the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) before switching to the Navy's Seaman to Admiral (STA-21) program.
The Navy and Marine Corps medal is one medal above the Bronze Star. It is considered the highest non-combat medal a Sailor or Marine can be awarded.
Lt. Col. Steve Sims, Atlanta Consortium executive officer, said Barner is a hero.
"I am very proud of Ensign Barner," said Sims. "He is a hard worker, extremely diligent and a huge team player in the unit. It was great that he got to receive the medal with the victims and his family in attendance."
Following the ceremony, Barner's orders directed him to report to his first naval assignment as a Surface Warfare officer aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).
The NROTC program was established to educate and train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps. The NROTC scholarship program fills a vital need in preparing mature young men and women for leadership and management positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps.
For more information about NROTC, including eligibility requirements and a list of colleges and universities, visit https://www.nrotc.navy.mil/.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.