A Kailua Cubmaster and eight-year-old Webelos Scout received medals Thursday from the National Boy Scouts of America for their quick actions during a deadly Osprey crash in Waimanalo.
Cubmaster Lisa Peddle Smith received the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms. It is the highest heroism medal awarded by the Boy Scouts of America and only given in exceptional cases to a scout or adult leader who has demonstrated unusual heroism and extraordinary skill in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self.
There have been only 288 recipients since the medal was first awarded in 1924.
Webelos Scout Kainoa Hepfner received the Meritorious Action Award Medal. This medal is awarded to a scout or an adult leader who has performed an outstanding act of service of rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.
On May 17, 2015, Peddle Smith, who is also an ICU nurse, was wrapping up a weekend Cub Scout camp at Bellows. A dead car battery kept her in the area at the time of the crash.
“I didn’t think. I wasn’t scared. I didn’t feel brave. I just knew that it was the right thing to do. I knew I could help.”
Meanwhile, Hepfner and his sisters were watching the Osprey’s take-offs and landings when it went down. Having finished the weekend learning about and training in first-aid, Hepfner rushed to Peddle Smith for help. They were the first ones at the crash scene.
“They immediately took me to the scene, and I had to climb a barbed wire fence which the Marines threw a flak jacket over and I got up and over it telling them that I was a nurse,” Peddle Smith said. “At that time the Osprey was in pieces, on fire. There were munitions going off and small explosions.”
Peddle Smith began assisting Marines from the wreckage and administering CPR as helicopter parts and the engine exploded around her.
“We had to move back like three times due to the explosions and the munitions firing, which I didn’t realize. I had heard popping noises going off during this whole time, but I didn’t know that it was munitions,” Peddle Smith said.
Peddle Smith said she didn’t think twice about her own safety. With 25 years as a nurse, she knew what she had to do.
“I didn’t think. I wasn’t scared. I didn’t feel brave. I just knew that it was the right thing to do. I knew I could help,” she said.
The crash killed 24-year-old Lance Cpl. Joshua E. Barron of Washington and 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan of Arizona.
Twenty-two people, one Navy Corpsman and 21 Marines, were on board.