PORT GENTILE, Gabon — Navy Storekeeper 2nd Class Ronald Saucedo, stationed onboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), was recognized Jan. 17 by the Gabonese Chief of Naval Forces, Captain Paul Biving Nziengu, and Capt. John Nowell, Commander, Africa Partnership Station (APS), for helping save the life of a local Gabonese woman.
On Jan. 14, Saucedo was on liberty at Sogara Beach with three other APS Sailors when they witnessed four men carrying a body from the water. "As we walked up to the crowd of people on the beach they saw my dog tags and said 'U.S. Marines, U.S. Marines,'" Saucedo said.
Saucedo assisted the victim by administering Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). "I checked her pulse and airway. Then I tilted her head back and somebody volunteered to do mouth-to-mouth while I did chest compressions," he said.
"Shortly after, the water gushed out of her nose and she came to. As soon as she started regaining consciousness, we made sure she was ok, and then tried to get additional medical help."
Saucedo described the whole experience as scary but credited his reaction to the training he received in the U.S. Navy. "I was afraid when I began chest compressions, but my training just kicked in," he said.
The basic life saving training that Saucedo received is the same training that APS is teaching maritime professionals from West and Central African countries.
"Always try to do your best even if you are not the one giving CPR. Do something to help, don't just walk by," said Saucedo.
Sailors like Saucedo are at the core of the Navy's new Cooperative Maritime Strategy. Whether volunteering to participate in community relations projects or military-to-military training.
"Petty Officer Saucedo's actions exemplify what APS is all about," said Nowell, "building trust with the African people so that we can strengthen collaborative partnerships."
The award presentation occurred during an APS graduation ceremony for Gabonese maritime professionals who completed a week-long training program. Saucedo also received a Letter of Commendation.