Nearly five months after an armed man tried to drive onto Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, the Navy honored base security personnel for their heroic actions.
On the morning of May 21, 20-year-old Adam Alsahli made his way down Ocean Drive toward the Naval Air Station’s North Gate.
Alsahli was armed and was looking to attack the base.
That attack, however, was thwarted by the efforts of Petty Officer 2nd Class Yaisa Coburn, Petty Officer 3rd Class Levi Milligan, and civilian base police officer Stuart Leavitt.
“We’ve looked forward to being able to recognize them for their bravery,” said NAS-CC Base Commander Capt. Christopher Jason.
Both Coburn and Milligan were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the U.S. Navy’s highest non-combat decoration for heroism.
An uncommon award for uncommon valor.
“It’s not an award I’ve ever seen worn and I’ve never seen it presented,” said Jason. “It’s a very special award on a very special day.”
Coburn and Milligan were working the base’s North Gate when Alsahli approached. Coburn was wounded in the shootout, but she, Milligan, and Leavitt were able to stop Alsahli before he could access the base.
Leavitt was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Medal for Valor. All three received their honors from the acting Undersecretary of the Navy Gregory Slavonic.
“As they walk around and they wear that ribbon on their chest, others will see that and recognize immediately that they did a heroic act,” said Slavonic.
Jason said the entire Naval Air Station should be grateful for security personnel stopping Alsahli before he could harm other sailors or civilians.
“Ten-thousand people live and work on this base, and they protected all of them,” said Jason.
Sr. Chief Petty Officer Christopher Fiske, the top security non-commissioned officer at the Naval Air Station, said incidents such as the one on May 21 are why his sailors train as hard as they do.
“When we train, we give them a little bit harder exercises so they understand this is what could happen,” he said. “When the real thing does happen, it’s second nature to them.”
In addition, Petty Officers Candace Dickson, Robert Delgado, Franko Hunter, Gregory Listman, Lorne Mayfield, Jamie Moore, and Daniel Wallace, who responded to the incident, were all awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.
Petty Officer Colby Gillette and Seaman Edmond Cristales, who was at the South Gate during the attack, were also recognized with the Navy Achievement Medal.
A base spokesperson told KRIS Communications that many people were calling the base, saying Coburn should receive a Purple Heart. That decoration however, is only awarded in a combat situation.