JANUARY 19, 2022 – Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Wesley Middleton was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal on Jan. 18, 2022, for an act of bravery involving a possible life-saving heroic act at the scene of a terrible vehicle accident early in the morning on Jan. 3, 2022.
Middleton, a surgical technician, assigned to Naval Medical Leader and Professional Development Command (NMLPDC), was taking his fiancé to Ronald Reagan International Airport near the District of Columbia to change her return flight time to San Antonio when he came upon the crash.
As a hospital corpsman, Middleton responded instinctively to help when he saw a man trapped in a vehicle near another already engulfed in flames. His fiancée, Taracya Da’andra Donald, watched from the car as she called 911 and prayed for everyone’s safety.
Middleton quickly assessed the incoherent passenger and kept him calm until the fire department and paramedics arrived to take him to a local hospital. He passed along pertinent information to the first responders. He then continued to the airport, where they successfully changed his fiancées’ flight.
“I had noticed a young lady franticly running back and forth from the second car and to the end of the bank, looking down over the cliff,” said Middleton. “At this time, my fiancée called 911, as I ran to remove a young man a safe distance away from the car engulfed in flames.”
Middleton said he quickly began talking with the young man to determine the source of his pain while assessing for any broken bones, swelling, pulse, and respiration. He made sure to keep the victim talking because he was fading in and out of consciousness. Middleton remained with him because he didn’t want the young man to be left alone.
Typical of his humility, Middleton never spoke about the incident until his department head of Endodontics, Navy Capt. Nancy Osborne asked how his holidays were, and he responded, “interesting.” The corpsman then explained what had happened.
“HM1 Middleton’s selfless actions not only speak to his character and commitment to our core values but illustrate his professionalism, always prepared to render aide, said Capt. Rachel Myaing NMLPDC commander. “This was an outstanding example of hospital corpsmen’s readiness in action. On behalf of the entire NML&PDC team, we are so proud to have this courageous shipmate on our Navy Medicine team!”
The young hospital corpsman is currently in school seeking a nursing degree to continue to follow his passion. Middleton’s selfless act of courage indicates his professionalism in the Navy. His pursuit of furthering medical education in his career choice is a sense of inspiration to other Sailors. He is the quintessential hospital corpsman and the kind of Sailor the Navy continues to pursue and encourage to enlist.
“As the leading petty officer of the Endodontics Department at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School, he demonstrates leadership drawn from his experience and training as a surgical technician and instructor,” said Osborne. “A life-long learner, HM1 Middleton is completing a full-time nursing curriculum at the Chamberlain University School of Nursing on nights and weekends.
“His dedication to the Navy is second to none and his actions on January 3rd are an outstanding reflection of his courage and character. In sharing the account with me, HM1 Middleton was remarkably humble,” added Osborne. “It really wasn’t until I watched the video of his actions that the danger he faced in the moment was made apparent. We are very fortunate to have him on our team in the Endodontics Department.”
Story by Randy Mitchell
Naval Medical Forces Support Command