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Okinawa Marines awarded for saving local in crash, helping put out fire

Marines awarded for saving Okinawan from car crash
Lance Cpl. Luis Rosas, left, and Cpl. Ian Burnham, center, are presented a letter of appreciation by Eikatsu Sakihara, Aug. 23 at the Urasoe City Police Department in Urasoe City, Okinawa, Japan. Rosas and Burnham were awarded letters of appreciation for their life-saving efforts following a vehicle collision, and their courage combating a vehicle fire April 16. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Brittany A. James/ Released)

U.S. Marine Cpl. Ian Burnham and Lance Cpl. Luis Rosas were awarded letters of appreciation August 23 from the Urasoe Police Department in Urasoe City, Okinawa, Japan for their efforts in assisting an injured driver out of a vehicle following a multi-vehicle collision, and extinguishing a burning vehicle.

Burnham, an electrical engineer equipment systems technician and Rosas, an engineer equipment mechanic with 3rd Maintenance Bn., Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, witnessed a vehicle collision as they were walking back to Camp Kinser from a local sports and entertainment facility April 16.

At the scene of the accident, the Marines did not hesitate to assist with the injured driver, as the other driver exited their vehicle safely.
“When we saw the crash, we ran to pull one (person) out of the car, and the other person exited the car safely,” said Burnham, a Spokane, Washington native.

The Marines cleared the area, and ensured pedestrians were out of harm’s way, according to Rosas, a Wilmington, California native. Following the accident, the Marines noticed the vehicle had caught on fire.

“We got two fire extinguishers from a local store,” said Rosas. “We put out the fire and waited for the police to arrive before returning to base.”

The Marine Corps teaches Marines to have a warrior mindset which prepares them for any situation, both on and off-duty, according to Burnham.

“It’s what Marines do,” said Burnham. “They are always ready to act when others hesitate, and when you see someone in danger it’s a basic Marine Corps instinct to help someone out.”

The letter of appreciation was presented to the Marines by Eikatsu Sakihara, the Chief of the Urasoe Police Department.

“We sincerely appreciate your prompt response to a vehicle fire that occurred on Highway 58 in 5 Chome Makiminato, Urasoe City on 16 April, 2016,” read the letter of appreciation. “As soon as you discovered the vehicle fire, you quickly conducted firefighting without hesitation. Your positive cooperation made a great contribution for preventing further damage.”

The Urasoe Police Department was thankful that the Marines were there to mitigate the after-affects of the accident, according to Sakihara.

“We appreciate their bravery,” said Sakihara. “Usually a burning vehicle could cause a big explosion, and is very dangerous to deal with. The Marines were brave enough to stop the vehicle fire.”

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