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Ohio Airman Receives Medal for Heroism

  • Published
  • By TSgt Brandon Boos
  • 179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The term hero makes him blush; on Sunday, May 4th 2014 Technical Sergeant Daryl A. Walters of the Ohio Air National Guard's 200th RED HORSE squadron was decorated with the Ohio Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic role in saving a tourist from being sucked into the propulsion turbines beneath a Jet Express ferry in Port Clinton.
Tech. Sgt. Walters is a Port Clinton native and a vehicle maintenance craftsman with 15 years of service in the Ohio Air National Guard. He started working a second job on the Jet Express because of last year's furlough and government shut-down.
The incident happened on Sept. 2, 2013, when an intoxicated female tourist fell between the ferry and the dock. The gap was only about 18 to 20 inches wide, and dangerously close to the jet intake that powers the boat. The woman screamed for help, alerting Tech Sgt. Walters and other Jet Express crew members.
Another crew member was trying to reach the woman when Walters noticed that his crewmate was in danger. "I looked down and saw that he was starting to slip too and said "We have to do something here." What he did was quick and decisive: Tech. Sgt. Walters yelled for the ship's captain to cut the engines and instructed a gathering crowd to get back as he dove-in to help. With the engines off and all of the on-lookers out of the way, the two men were able to secure the scared woman, and with some additional help from Walter's son Nate, who also works on the Jet Express, they were eventually able to get her back onto the shore.
Without immediate assistance, Tech. Sgt. Walters says the woman would have drowned or been sucked into the jet intake. "Either way, she probably would not have survived."
TSgt. Walters credits his military training and Air National Guard experience with his ability to help save a life that day. "The thought process, the risk management... I'm grateful for my training."
Major General Mark E. Bartman, Ohio's Assistant Adjutant General - Air, also talked about value of military training and experience when he presented the medal.
Addressing the men and women of the 200th RED HORSE squadron, he said "When something happens and there is someone in need, you guys know how to react because of the training that you've had. There are a lot of people out there who, when they see something happen, they stand and they watch. You all know what to do."
With lives at stake, Tech. Sgt. Walters knew what to do last September. "You don't want anyone to perish for any reason. Being in the Guard and having that training, allows you to act." In this case it also allowed him to help save a life.
The Ohio National Guard Distinguished Service Medal is the second highest medal for heroism awarded by the state.