Pendleton Marine Awarded for Life Saving Flagship of the United States Marine Corps News Display

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U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marksmanship Training Division with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, was appointed June 30 by Brig. Gen. Gen. Jason Woodworth , the Commanding General of MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, for the heroism he showed in December 2020 rescuing a family from a burning vehicle.

“The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the only medal that can be earned throughout the Department of the Navy for heroic actions not in a combat situation,” Woodworth said during the ceremony.

In December 2020, Wetter was on what he considered a typical drive home when he witnessed a jerry can falling from a nearby truck. The can got stuck under the car in front of him – the Hurley family car. Sparks began to fly from under the car and a fire immediately broke out.

“I immediately thought I had to help them in any way I could.” Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter, SNCO Marksmanship Training Division in charge

“All I could think of at first was what the hell happened?” said weather. “I immediately thought I had to help them in any way I could.”

The car’s driver, Anthony Hurley, slammed on the brakes and stopped, prompting Wetter to do the same. Wetter ran to the car and began to analyze the situation. The fire extinguisher Wetter had brought from his vehicle was no match for the fire, which at the time had too much fuel.

Hurley and his wife had already fled the burning car but were unable to get their young daughter out of her car seat. The father, Anthony, has already tried unsuccessfully to get the child out. At this point, Wetter got into the burning car and tried to unbuckle the seat belt, but to no avail. He then grabbed his pocket knife and cut the child out of the car seat.

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Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew Cortez

U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Wetter, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Marksmanship Training Division with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, waits to receive a Navy and Marine Corps Medal from Brig. Gen. Jason Woodworth and Sgt. Maj. Matthew Hackett, the commanding general and sergeant major of MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, during an awards ceremony at Camp Pendleton, California June 30, 2022. Wetter was recognized for the heroism he in December 2020 showed to a family when on his way home he saw a car burst into flames on the side of the road. Wetter climbed into the back seat of the burning car and used a penknife to free a child from her car seat.

Wetter’s entire unit attended his ceremony along with friends and family. Most importantly to Wetter, the Hurleys were also there to watch him receive the Marine Corps’ highest award for non-combat heroism.

“All I can say is I’m glad he was there that day because he saved our firstborn,” said Anthony Hurley. “If it weren’t for his heroics, she wouldn’t be here today.”

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