Petty Officers Jason Murphy, Edgar Ardon, and Elisandro Leal (U.S. Navy photo)
You have heard the saying, “Nothing good ever happens after 2AM.” That’s not always true. Sometimes great things happen.
It was nearly 4am on March 22nd, 2008, and Brian Anthony Davis was flying down Virginia’s I-64 at 100mph on his 2002 Suzuki. As he approached the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, however, he lost control of his motorcycle. His bike slammed into a wall near the tunnel entrance, flinging Davis into the chilly waters of Chesapeake Bay – unconscious, injured, and floating face-down.
Witness to the accident were three CARL VINSON (CVN 70) Sailors who were returning home to Newport News. They stopped to see what they could do, and spotted the cyclist floating in the water. As the driver, Petty Officer Elisandro Leal, stayed with the car to call for assistance, the others ran to the water’s edge.
Petty Officers Jason Murphy and Edgar Ardon immediately stripped off their clothes and jumped in – swimming 25 yards in the darkness to find Davis – and dragged the unconscious man to shore.
He had stopped breathing. Falling back on their Navy training, Murphy and Ardon began CPR, and before long, Davis began to breathe. By the time paramedics arrived, he was conscious – badly hurt, but alive.
When interviewed later, Petty Officer Ardon said, “This was someoneâ€™s brother, son, or father, and I was in position to help this guy. Iâ€™m not a hero; just a person serving in the military, and trying to serve others when they need it.â€ (Virginia Pilot)
For their efforts, all three men were awarded – Petty Officers Murphy and Ardon received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal; Petty Officer Leal received the Navy Commendation Medal.
What jumps out at me is the fact that all three were Third Class Petty Officers – young men who took immediate action with a poise that belied their ages. They were at the beginning of their careers, but had already accomplished a feat that few will match in a lifetime.
Petty Officers Leal, Murphy and Ardon are our heroes of the week.
(Brian Anthony Davis, a Sailor stationed aboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69), is recovering.)
For the full story, read, “Carl Vinson Sailors Save Life of Drowning Motorcyclist“, and, “Sailors recall rescue of motorcyclist from water after HRBT crash.”