Marine saves four lives after car accident


By Debbie Gregory.

Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Skates is a soldier from O’Fallon, MO. He is stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. Skates is no stranger to heroism.

The amphibious assault vehicle crewman, his wife Jacqueline, and their child were driving on July 9th, when they noticed an overturned vehicle in a ditch. It was standing on its end.

Skates said he could hear the crash victims yelling for help.  He saw two children in the backseat so he reached into the vehicle and pulled them out. He then helped a teenager in the passenger seat and removed her from the vehicle.

He then crawled into the vehicle through the passenger side window and talked to the driver to keep her calm. He stayed inside the vehicle as a towing crew stabilized the car by rolling it onto its roof. The driver was then able to climb out through the window.

Skates says lifesaving techniques he learned in recruit training came right back to him. Integrated Training Exercise (ITX), formally known as Javelin Thrust, is the largest annual Marine Corps Reserve training exercise, with more than 5,000 Marines participating from units across the United States. The life-saving techniques Skates learned,  included hemorrhage control, maintaining casualty airway, managing penetrating chest injuries and shock casualties, treating heat and burn casualties, the application of splinting techniques, and the assessment and evacuation of casualties.

This training is accomplished through a combination of classroom and practical application exercises. Thanks to the quick reaction of Sgt. Skates and his wife Jacqueline, the family was saved.

With so many Veterans and active duty members in our communities, and with more to come, our First Responders may be receiving more help as they respond to accidents. With life-saver training and two deployments under his belt, Sgt. Skates was able to jump into action, knowing exactly what to do.