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Cpl. Daniel J. Benjamin Jr. reunites with Paula Genova at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, on Sept. 14, 2015, two weeks after saving her life from a substantial head injury. On Aug. 31, Paula was riding her bike when she lost control and was struck in the head by a tree branch. While losing a significant amount of blood and screaming for help, Benjamin came to her aid by taking her straight to the hospital. Benjamin recently received a coin from the III Marine Expeditionary Force sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Lee D. Bonar Jr., for his selfless act. Paula is a tourist from Manila, Philippines. Benjamin is a digital wideband repair Marine with Headquarters Marine Wing Support Group 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Photo by Cpl. Rebecca Elmy

New York Marine saves tourists life

16 Sep 2015 | Cpl. Rebecca Elmy II Marine Expeditionary Force

Cpl. Daniel J. Benjamin Jr. received a unit challenge coin from Sgt. Maj. Lee D. Bonar Jr., the III Marine Expeditionary Force sergeant major, on Camp Foster, Sept. 9, for his heroic act of saving the life of a tourist.

While Benjamin was driving from his house to Camp Foster during the afternoon of Aug. 31, he noticed a woman on the side of the road, bloodied and screaming for help.

Paula Genova, a tourist from Manila, Philippines, had suffered a head injury after losing control of her bicycle on a busy road. She tried waving at every car that passed, but no one stopped. Some people slowed down, looked at her bloody and crying figure, but passed by.

“Then, Cpl. Benjamin came by,” said Paula. “He didn't care about all of the blood and was trying to comfort me. When we got to the ER, he didn't immediately leave; he waited until I got attended to.”

Benjamin, a digital wideband repair Marine with Headquarters Marine Wing Support Group 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, was on his way to pay bills on Camp Foster when he saw the woman and noticed that no one was stopping to help her.

“When I was getting out of my car she was panicking saying, ‘Sir! Sir! Please help me!’” said Benjamin from Corning, New York. “Once I noticed the amount of blood that was coming from her forehead, I immediately put her in my car and drove her to the naval hospital.”

Unfortunately, Benjamin didn’t have anything in his car to properly aid the woman. He quickly told the woman to use a shirt and apply pressure to the wounded area to help stop the bleeding until they arrived at the hospital, according to Benjamin.

“Once we got to the front desk of the emergency room, I explained that the woman was a local and is in great need of medical attention,” said Benjamin. “Within minutes, she received assistance and the doctors told me that she was going to be okay, so I left and went about my day.”

The next day, Paula posted a message on Facebook thanking Benjamin for saving her life.

“When I found out what Cpl. Benjamin did, I was proud,” said Sgt. Maj. Mario A. Marquez, the 1st MAW sergeant major. “I was proud that a person can be so selfless. Sometimes people are worried about not getting involved in a situation that can get them in trouble or that they can be responsible for someone’s life if it didn’t turn out well.”

After the incident, while Cpl. Benjamin was taking part in the III MEF change of command practice ceremony, he found out that the III MEF sergeant major wanted to present him with a coin for his actions that day.

“I don’t think that Marine will ever tell you he’s a hero,” said Marquez. “I was just proud of the Marine for just doing the right thing, for the right reasons because it was the right thing to do. We are all humbled by him, and we’re just glad that the lady is alive and safe.”