Marine aids collapsed Japanese woman
August 7, 2008
It was a sweltering 93 degrees outside Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Sunday and Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Morgan was riding his bicycle at the busy Four Corners intersection.
Across the street, a 21-year-old Japanese woman was standing alone in the heat. Suddenly, she collapsed to the sidewalk, he said.
The woman wasn’t moving and nobody was moving to help.
"The Lord put me on that corner for a reason," Morgan said.
Morgan, his responses honed by tours in Iraq and Haiti, dashed across four lanes of traffic — and the hood of a car — to provide aid.
By the time he reached her, the woman’s lips were turning blue. He cleared her airway, but her pulse was weak.
"I was trying everything I could to get her to open her eyes and speak to me," Morgan said. "I didn’t know if she was seizing or what was going on."
Morgan was eventually joined by a Japanese nurse who was also at the intersection and they moved the unconscious woman to a vehicle with air conditioning, said base spokeman Master Gunnery Sgt. John Cordero.
They waited with the unconscious woman for about 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived, he said.
The woman, who lives in Okayama near Hiroshima, suffered heat exhaustion and was transported to an Iwakuni hospital by ambulance, according to base and city officials.
She was released from the hospital on Sunday, but Japanese authorities provided no further information on her condition or her name due to privacy concerns.
Morgan said he was making a rare trip off base to shop for his two sons. Morgan is attached to VFMA (AW) 242 out of Beaufort, S.C., and at the air base for a one-year deployment.
When he saw the distressed woman, his Marine training kicked in and he moved instinctively.
"I didn’t do nothing heroic," he said. "I just did what a Marine would do. You’re going to help somebody in need."