15th MEU News
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U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Steven Maire, left, an AH-1Z Viper pilot and a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and Capt. Joseph Carey, an MV-22B Osprey and a native of Hanover, New Hampshire, both assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, pose for a photo after receiving Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals during a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 10, 2024. Maire and Carey were presented awards for providing lifesaving aid to a man suffering a medical emergency May 23, 2024, at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang)

Photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang

15th MEU Pilots Awarded for Lifesaving Actions at Dallas Airport

12 Jun 2024 | Capt. Brian Tuthill and Cpl. Amelia Kang 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Two Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, were recognized June 10, 2024, for their lifesaving actions helping a man suffering a medical emergency at the at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport May 23, 2024.

Capt. Steven M. Maire and Capt. Joseph H. Carey were each presented a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal by the 15th MEU’s commanding officer, Col. Sean Dynan, in front of a formation of approximately 200 Marines and Sailors with VMM-165 (Rein.) at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

Pilots Awarded for Lifesaving Actions Photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang
U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, stand in formation for an awards presentation at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 10, 2024. Capt. Steven Maire and Capt. Joseph Carey were presented Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals for providing lifesaving aid to a man suffering a medical emergency May 23, 2024, at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang)

While the pair were returning from the Marine Aviation Readiness and Operations Summit, Maire and Carey saw a man travelling with his family collapse at the ticketing counter in what they initially thought was a seizure. Without hesitation, they rushed over to provide aid and immediately began assisting the man and his family.

As pilots with the 15th MEU’s aviation combat element who have trained and flown together since mid-2023, the two are used to working closely as a team, making rapid decisions, and communicating with one another in fast-paced situations.

“I was checking in for my ticket and I saw him on the ground and realized something wasn’t right,” said Maire, an AH-1Z Viper pilot and a Cleveland native. “That’s when Joe [Carey] saw him and started heading over to him, then I followed.”

Carey, an MV-22B Osprey pilot and a Hanover, New Hampshire native, said he could not see any medical or emergency personnel near them and realized they were the closest people to help.

“We just got down on the floor with him and started to figure out what the problem was,” said Carey.

“The man wasn’t responsive and was very tense, so at first I thought it was a seizure,” said Maire. “We’re pilots – not medical professionals – but we remembered what we’ve been trained to do and just helped.”

As they made their initial assessment, Maire and Carey realized the man wasn’t breathing and determined it was more likely that he had suffered a heart attack.

“He was unresponsive and not breathing for long enough that he started turning blue,” said Carey, describing the man’s face and lips.

Carey then began cardiopulmonary resuscitation chest compressions while the man’s wife gave rescue breaths, said Maire.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, an airline representative soon brought the Marines an automated electronic defibrillator, said Maire. “He had a very weak pulse, so when they brought over the defibrillator, I immediately hooked the leads up to his chest to use it.”

Once Carey safely cleared everyone away, Maire attempted to shock the man’s heart back to regular rhythm. After the second shock and additional CPR compressions, he started to slowly regain consciousness.

“Once we discharged the defibrillator, he started to become responsive again, his pupils came back in, and he started breathing,” said Maire.

In what Maire said felt like the same moment as the man started to recover, paramedics arrived at the terminal and took over caring for the man, gathering vitals and other information as they relieved the two Marines.

“When he came back, that was a huge relief,” said Carey. “It was just great to see what we did worked.”

“I’m glad someone was able to be there and help him, but it was very surreal,” said Maire. “One minute we were getting our tickets, then we were reacting to this situation, and then it was over and we were worried about getting to the gate to catch our flights.”

During the medal presentation ceremony at MCAS Miramar, Dynan explained how the fast actions taken by Maire and Carey embody the warrior culture and standing guidance he has for the entire 15th MEU – be ready to deploy to crisis, or be ready to “be somebody’s hero” and help others in need.

Pilots Awarded for Lifesaving Actions Photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Steven Maire, an AH-1Z Viper pilot assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a native of Cleveland, Ohio, receives a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal during an awards ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, June 10, 2024. Maire and Capt. Joseph Carey were presented awards for providing lifesaving aid to a man suffering a medical emergency May 23, 2024, at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Amelia Kang)

Following the ceremony, Lt. Col. Drew Bossart, commanding officer of VMM-165 (Rein.), also reflected on the decisions Maire and Carey made that day.

"Their quick thinking, exceptional teamwork, and unwavering commitment to the safety and well-being of others epitomize the core values of our Marine Corps,” said Bossart. “They’re true leaders who didn’t hesitate to take charge of a surprise situation and begin fighting to save someone’s life, and I’m extremely proud to serve with them and recognize their lifesaving efforts."

For more information, contact the 15th MEU Communication Strategy and Operations office at (760) 763-4505.


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