MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- A Marine from Marine Air Control Squadron-1 recently was awarded for quick thinking that kept an ugly situation from getting uglier during a routine equipment transport mission to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Nov. 7.
Lance Cpl. Kevin Abraham received a Navy Achievement Medal, Nov. 20, for actions he took to ensure the safety of civilian drivers when a generator fell off the convoy truck he was following on the way to MCAS Miramar.
Abraham was the last car in the convoy and was tasked with watching the gear.
The generator was the power support for a Tactical Air Operations Module the unit was giving to a MACS-1 detachment stationed at Miramar. They were moving the unit because MACS-1 recently received new gear and needed to make space, Abraham said.
The convoy made it as far as San Diego where traffic became more dense and the roads became bumpy.
"As (the truck) was hitting the bumps, I noticed the generator bouncing further toward me," Abraham said. He notified 1st Lt. Nathan Pollak, officer-in-charge of the convoy in the lead car, via radio and he was told to try to get the driver to pull over.
"That's when I tried to flag down the driver to tell him what was happening," Abraham said.
But Abraham's efforts were to no avail. The driver did not notice his signals. With little time and five cars directly behind him, Abraham knew he needed to divert the following drivers so when the generator fell, it wouldn't land on top of someone's car.
"That generator weighs 1,500 pounds, and it would have been coming roughly 128 miles per hour at someone's windshield," Abraham explained. "I was just thinking, 'get everybody the hell out of the way because you won't be able to sleep at night if someone gets hurt.'"
"I turned on my hazards, hit my breaks, started waving my arms and honking the horn," Abraham explained. He said his actions did not get him a positive response from trailing drivers at first.
"I got the infamous finger a few times and a lot of honking," he said. But, shortly after receiving a few tongue lashings the generator bounced off the truck and smack-dab in the middle of the freeway. Not a single car even had to swerve.
"I didn't expect everything to work so perfectly ... I got on the radio and said, 'Sir, it fell,' and the lieutenant told me to call the San Diego Police Department," Abraham said.
Immediately following the incident, a city truck near the area set up cones so on-coming traffic would know to go around until the generator could be picked up.
"He used outstanding initiative in a potentially deadly situation, and he did the right thing," said Lt. Col. Phil Kenoyer, MACS-1 executive officer.
Abraham has received numerous "Atta-boys" from Marines in his unit, but he did not expect a NAM.
"I appreciate and I understand it, but I don't make a big deal about just doing my job," Abraham modestly said.