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NEWS | March 7, 2022

Heroism: U.S. Army Reserve Soldier helps Rescue California Plane Crash Victims

By Sgt. Liem Huynh 351st Civil Affairs Command

A U.S. Army Reserve Soldier and three other pedestrians, including a Marine Corps sergeant, aided the victims of a plane crash in Camp Pendleton on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, after witnessing the crash take place.  

“I climbed through the pilot’s seat and kneeled in the space between the pilot and co-pilot to help provide medical aid and to keep them both calm,” said U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Christopher Gordon, a training civil affairs Non-commissioned Officer with the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). “I kept the pilot’s wound stabilized until the police and fire rescue came to relieve me.”

Gordon, a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida native, was commuting home to have lunch near the Army Reserve Center in Camp Pendleton when he witnessed the plane crash through the windshield of his car.

After the crash, Gordon immediately pulled over, called 911, gave the dispatchers the location of the accident, and rushed to the aid of the victims. 

“I saw the plane diving down, but it didn’t pull up,” said Gordon in an interview with U.S. Army public affairs. “At that point, it was just a question of where I was going to pull over, and how I was going to get to the accident as fast as possible.”

While en route to the wreckage Gordon ran into three other pedestrians who witnessed the crash and helped coordinate the rescue relief efforts with them while waiting for the authorities. 

One of the pedestrians brought a First Aid Kit, while the other carried a fire extinguisher. 

The two pedestrians and Gordon were quickly joined by Marine Corps Sgt. Morgan Vohs who provided aid to the co-pilot after ripping one of the plane's doors.

Gordon, who has served in the U.S. military for almost 18 years, said he was grateful that he and the other volunteers were able to give what aid they could so quickly.

“It is great that we were able to get there and help prevent severe injuries before things got worse,” said Gordon. “I am very grateful for everyone’s efforts and the tools that they brought.”

The Oceanside police reported that the crash was due to the plane losing altitude just short of reaching the airport.

The pilot is currently being treated at Scripps Memorial Hospital for back fractures, a concussion, and multiple cuts and bruises, NBC 7 San Diego reported.

His co-pilot is being treated at Palomar Medical Center, and his condition is unknown according to the same outlet. 

Gordon, who comes from a family with a history in military service dated back to World War II, said that he believes his actions can be credited to his Army’s values and training.

“I didn’t think about myself even when I looked around for the hazard factors,” said Gordon. “I just believed it was my duty to do this.”