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NEWS | April 13, 2021

The Army Reserve recognizes Wisconsin Soldier for his heroics during off-duty hours

By Maj. Jeku Arce Military Intelligence Readiness Command

Spc. Justice McBain, an Army Reserve Soldier, received the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest award for heroism outside combat Sunday.

McBain was presented with the Soldier’s Medal for heroic actions back in 2019 following a multi-vehicle crash that resulted in two fatalities on Interstate 94 in Racine, Wisconsin. McBain saved the lives of a civilian and Wisconsin Air National Guardsman Senior Airman Kelvin Yde.

When McBain arrived on the scene of accident, he found Yde pinned between his seat and the steering wheel with the front windshield collapsed. Without hesitation, McBain sprang into action by moving the windshield over to the side, he cut Yde’s seatbelt, and extracted Yde from the car with the assistance other motorists. All of this occurring while a fire from the semi-truck involved in the incident began to spread amongst the other vehicles involved with the crash.

Before rescuing Yde, McBain assisted an individual in another vehicle by helping her get out of the passenger side of the vehicle because flames were present on the driver’s side.

Maj. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division headquartered at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin presented the Soldier’s Medal certificate to McBain on behalf of the Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General Lt. Gen. Jody J. Daniels. McBain’s mother, Heather McBain, had the honor of pinning her son with the Soldier’s Medal during the presentation ceremony.

“[McBain] disregarded danger to himself and acted,” said Guthrie during his ceremony remarks. I’m truly honored to be here to meet a hero.”

Brig. Gen. David May, deputy adjutant general of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, presented McBain with a miniature replica of a KC-135 Stratotanker tail flash as a special token of their appreciation for saving Yde’s life.

“There’s a lot of gratitude for what you did from the families and from the people you saved and that gratitude also comes from us,” said May. “The Air National Guard is a family and you saved one of our very valuable family members in that [crash].”

“I helped them because that's what you’re supposed to do," McBain said in an interview with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I don't see myself as a hero. I just did what was right and helped someone that needed it."

Also in attendance for McBain’s ceremony were Soldiers from his unit, Charlie Company, 337th Military Intelligence Battalion, friends and family members, leadership from his brigade Theater Support Command and his higher headquarters Military Intelligence Readiness Command.

The next steps of McBain’s career became common theme of the ceremony by most of the speakers.

“The Army has always been looking for a good few leaders,” said Command Sgt. Major Brian Bertazon, senior enlisted advisor at Military Intelligence Readiness Command, during his remarks. “I think everyone in this room today knows that Spc. McBain is ready for leadership.”

McBain was also awarded the Carnegie Medal in 2020, the highest honor for civilian heroism in the U.S. and Canada.