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Beaufort Marine saves life of local citizen

By Cpl. Jeff M. Nagan | | July 26, 2002

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Although most Marines hang up their uniform at the end of the day, they do not drift far from the Corps or its values even while away from the air station carrying out a second job.

Lance Cpl. Russell Stratmann, commnications technician, Marine Air Control Squadron 2, was working as a deliverer for a local pizzeria to make a little extra money.

On July 6, while on a delivery, he was faced with a situation that challenged his courage as a Marine.

"Right after a late-night delivery, I was driving on Jennings Street, near Battery Creek High School," Stratmann said. "I swerved to avoid a man who standing in the middle of the street waving his arms."

With the brake lights illuminating the middle-aged man, Stratmann noticed he had blood on his clothing, he said.

"The man asked for a ride to the hospital," Stratmann said. "Despite having a lot of money in my pocket, I still had courage to stop and help him by giving him a ride."

It was not until he arrived at a stoplight did he notice the severity of the man's injury. He was holding his hand near his eye. The man had been shot and was bleeding badly, according to Stratmann.

"I rushed him to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital once I noticed how badly he was injured," Stratmann said.

Once they arrived at the hospital, medical technicians took over. Although Stratmann could have left, he remained until police arrived to question him.

"I escorted the police to the scene where I picked him up," Stratmann said.

Although the night was over, the events that unfolded left a lasting impression on both the injured man and Stratmann.

The man's parents were persistent in locating Stratmann. Although they thanked him over the phone, they wanted to thank him in person once their son fully recovers, Stratmann said.

"I think he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Stratmann said. "It is the Marine Corps duty to help people."

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