July 29, 2010

Virginia Guardsman awarded Soldier’s Medal for heroism

By Staff Sgt Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT MONROE, Va.— A Virginia Army National Guard Soldier on Title 10, active-duty orders with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command was awarded the Soldier’s Medal at Fort Monroe July 23 for his actions that resulted in the saving of three men following a boating accident in the Chesapeake Bay Oct. 3, 2009.

 

Lt. Gen. John Sterling awards Chief Warrant Officer Clifford Bauman the Soldier's medal at Fort Monroe July 23. Bauman was awarded the medal for his selfless service which saved three lives in October. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

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Chief Warrant Officer Clifford Bauman was presented the Army’s highest medal for non-combat related actions by Lt. Gen. John E. Sterling, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Army TRADOC, during a presentation ceremony attended by Bauman’s wife, father, and friends and coworkers at Morelli Auditorium on the Hampton base.

“This is a very auspicious occasion. This is my first ever opportunity to participate in an award ceremony for the Soldier’s Medal,” said Sterling. “It’s a big event. It’s a very significant event and we need to take notice of it.”

The Army has many awards and medals it bestows upon Soldiers for heroism during battle and many for recognizing Soldiers for outstanding work performed in the field and in garrison, but the Soldier’s Medal is the highest award a Soldier can receive for heroism not directly related to combat.

 

Chief Warrant Officer Bauman talks with Virginia National Guard Command Chief Warrant Officer Eddie Whitt after being awarded the Soldier's Medal July 23. Whitt has been a mentor to Bauman throughout his Army Warrant Officer career. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“We have lots of awards for and recognitions that we do for valor in the face of the enemy, but from time-to-time there is an opportunity for a Soldier to use the skills that he has…in a life-saving event that doesn’t necessarily involve actions in front of the enemy.”

Bauman was heralded for his swift actions that saved three men that day. Although one man passed-away on the scene, Bauman’s quick action and years of Army training gave him the tools he needed to save the other three men.

“With all of the training our Soldiers receive, it’s only natural in a situation where life and death was at hand that Chief Bauman stepped in,” said Chief Warrant Officer Five Eddie Whitt, Command Chief Warrant Officer of the Virginia National Guard and a mentor to Bauman. “His actions speak highly of the Virginia National Guard Warrant Officer Corps and the Virginia National Guard itself.”

The citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States, authorized by Congress July 2, 1926, has awarded the Soldier’s Medal to Chief Warrant Officer Clifford W. Bauman for heroism on October 3, 2009 while responding to a boating accident. After witnessing a barge collide with a small boat in the Chesapeake Bay, Chief Warrant Officer Bauman immediately began to radio for help as he piloted his craft toward the accident. Upon reaching the scene he realized the injured fishermen were unable to swim. He acted with complete disregard for his own safety grabbing several life vests and diving into the water. Swimming through water contaminated by an oil slick, he reached one fisherman and immediately began CPR after finding him lying motionless and face down in the water. After bringing the unconscious man to another boat, Chief Warrant Officer Bauman then swam to the sinking fishing boat where the other three fishermen were struggling to stay alive. Over the next forty minutes he helped each fisherman in turn don a life vest and aided them as they swam to the safety of the dry boat. Chief Warrant Officer Bauman’s tireless efforts at great risk to his own life undoubtedly saved the lives of three fishermen and served as an example for all Soldiers to follow. Chief Warrant Officer Bauman’s selfless and heroic actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

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