Seabee 'Hero' Efforts Recognized

Last Updated : 3/6/2012 12:50:41 PM

Seabee 'Hero' Efforts Recognized by City of Buellton
By Shane Montgomery

 

Buellton, Calif. - Six Seabees, three each from the 31st Seabee Readiness Group (31st SRG) and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE (NMCB 3), were recognized by City of Buellton Mayor Holly Sierra in a Proclamation of Thanks, Feb. 29, for their support in the rescue of a mother and her two children from a mangled BMW on Highway 101 Jan. 12.

The rescue occurred after a semi diesel truck collided with the BMW nearly pushing it off a bridge and into a 100-foot ravine. Equipment Operator 1st Class Frankie Cruz, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Michael McCracken, Equipment Operator

Constructionman Clinton Roberts, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Shawn Legg, Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Benjamin Mead, and Construction Mechanic 3rd Class James Winters were returning from a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett and were the second responders on the scene.

The highway was full of smoke and debris, so the group pulled over to see if they could assist. The Seabees were able to help both the California Highway Patrol and Santa Barbara County fire fighter rescuers by securing the vehicle with an extendable boom forklift the group was bringing back to Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme.

The Seabees held the forklift in position under the vehicle long enough so rescuers could extract a ten-year-old girl, a 10-week-old baby and their mother.

Mayor Sierra's proclamation to rescuers was delivered at the annual State of the City of Buellton Luncheon. Also receiving the proclamation were the firefighters, police, highway patrol and a Santa Maria City tow truck driver, who was first on the scene and managed to secure his tow-line to the vehicle until the first responders could arrive. All of the rescuers were called to the stage one group at a time. When the Seabees were called to join them, more than 100 people in attendance rose to their feet and cheered.

"You expect rescue agencies to be there for us when we are in trouble," said Sierra, who started her term as Mayor of Buellton Dec. 8, 2011. "But to also be fortunate to have Navy Seabees come by when you need them most is amazing."

With NMCB 3 currently deployed to Europe and Africa, the Seabees from that unit who participated in the rescue were unable to be at the ceremony; however, their 31st SRG counterparts accepted the proclamation on their behalf with gratitude.

Following the proclamation, the attorney for the rescued family thanked all of the rescuers. He explained that while the family was not medically able to travel, they were looking forward to thanking them all in person as soon as possible.

The family did send plaques for the rescuers that showed a picture of the family and was engraved with comments of their gratitude.

Anyone interested in viewing all 17 minutes of video footage from the rescue, please visit http://vimeo.com/36314791