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Senior Sailor of the Year Saves a Life at Local Gym

10 January 2022

From Quartermaster Seaman Bailey R. Connors-Battes

The Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Southwest Senior Sailor of the Year, Navy Counselor 1st Class Ryan P. Lighten, saved a life at a Temecula, California gym on Jan. 10, 2022.

While working out at EōS Fitness, Navy Counselor 1st Class Ryan P. Lighten was alerted of a civilian in need of urgent medical assistance by a Future Sailor.

“I was working out on the bench press with my earbuds in, when one of my Future Sailors ran up to me with a scared look on his face, yelling franticly,” said Lighten. “He told me there was a man lying on the floor unresponsive and not breathing.”

Without delay Lighten jumped to action although he feared he may have forgotten his training.

“My first thought was ‘I hope I can remember my training,’” said Lighten. “Future Sailor Dominic Rodgers cleared a path for me telling everyone in the vicinity that I knew CPR.”

The many life-saving drills Lighten had performed while stationed onboard USS Somerset (LPD 25) were like muscle-memory to him when he reached the man on the floor.

“Rodgers told me later that he knew the Navy provided CPR training to all of its personnel, which was why he ran straight to me,” said Lighten.

Lighten began by clearing the scene with Rodgers and asked a nearby spectator to call 911. Then, with all the critical CPR steps running through his mind, Lighten started preforming the life-saving technique on the gentleman.

Within 15 minutes of chest compressions and artificial ventilation, the unconscious man became responsive and started breathing again. The man was groggy and unable to recollect what had happened or where he was. EMTs soon arrived and took over, putting the victim in an ambulance to receive further care at Temecula Valley Hospital.

“The guy never really saw who had helped him,” said Lighten. “I hope I get the opportunity to formally introduce myself to him in the future.”

Lighten, 29, from Newark, New Jersey, grew up quickly and is not afraid to face difficult moments.

“I grew up in a rough neighborhood and I wanted a better future for myself,” said Lighten. “I joined the Navy because I wanted to improve myself, both professionally and culturally.”

For his first few years in the Navy, Lighten worked as a machinery repairman. He said he made the transition to Navy Recruiting to better “assist young men and women in obtaining the same benefits that I received from joining the Navy.”

Proudly serving in the Navy for the past eight years, Lighten said, “The Navy has helped me by putting me in a position to grow as a leader.”

Lighten was selected as the Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Southwest Senior Sailor of the Year for 2021.

“The Navy has given me a brighter outlook on my life and a more promising future for my son,” said Lighten.

As a dedicated leader and father, Lighten said, “I frequently volunteer at the local high schools, animal hospitals and retirement homes with the purpose of giving back to my community and spreading Navy awareness.”

Lighten has been a standout Sailor at NTAG Southwest for a while. He was meritoriously advanced to petty officer first class in 2020 and was later named Leading Petty Officer of Navy Recruiting Station Temecula.

Over the past four years of recruiting duty, Lighten states he has “worked in an environment alongside individuals with diverse backgrounds.” Worrying about his Sailors’ successes isn’t the only thing on his mind; Lighten has many goals to strive for.

“I plan to put on the rank of chief petty officer with the hopes of eventually retiring from the Navy at the rank of master chief petty officer,” said Lighten.

Lighten’s more immediate goal is to guide as many people, like Future Sailor Rodgers, into the Navy from the Temecula area as possible.

As a last note from this remarkable first responder, “I would like to wish the gentleman I assisted a speedy recovery and healthy future,” said Lighten.

Renamed in December 2020, NTAG Southwest encompasses 210,000 square miles covering Arizona, Nevada and Southern California. Headquartered at Naval Base Point Loma, NTAG Southwest has three Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOC Fleet City, TAOC Surf City and TAOC Paradise City) managing 43 Navy Recruiting Stations and Navy Officer Recruiting Stations and employs more than 300 recruiters, support personnel and civilians.

For more news from NTAG Southwest, visit or Also you can follow the command on Facebook (, Twitter (@NRD_SanDiego) and Instagram (@ntagsw).


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