Rear Adm. Michael P. Tillotson, Commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, presented the medal to former Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Corey Baughman for heroic acts while on leave in Japan, Dec. 2011.
In attendance at the ceremony was Capt. Edward Eidson, Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One, Baughman’s family and friends, local military officials and veterans organizations.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Marine Corps, distinguishes themself by heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy, for acts of lifesaving, or attempted lifesaving, at the risk of one’s own life.
“Corey Baughman is a real life hero. He embodies everything that is good about our Sailors and our citizens,” said Tillotson. “Whether supporting salvage operations following the sinking of Republic of Korea ship Cheonan or tsunami relief efforts in Japan during Operation Tomodachi, he spent his entire career putting the safety of others before his own, both on and off duty, and today we are honored and proud to recognize his accomplishments.”
While climbing Mount Fuji, Baughman witnessed a climber fall 600 meters from the summit of the mountain. Concerned for the man’s survival, he and an experienced climber led a team of volunteers on a rapid descent to the climber’s position.
Upon administering initial first aid, Baughman and three other climbers carried the semi-conscious man down the steep and icy terrain to a location where mountain rescue could reach him by helicopter.
As the temperatures continued to drop and with minimal survival gear on hand, Baughman found overnight shelter for the team in a mountain hut.
Fighting numerous life-threatening conditions that included temperatures estimated at negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit, a fire in the mountain hut, a lack of water, frostbite and hypothermia, Baughman continued to provide lifesaving first aid to the man until a rescue helicopter arrived the following morning.
Baughman, 38, a native of Karlstad, Minn., served 9 years in the US Navy as an EOD technician. He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was honorably discharged in Feb. 2012.
“This was a very unexpected honor. It is its own reward when you find yourself in a position to do something worthwhile and you are able to do it,” said Baughman. “I would like to share the honor of this award with the courageous people I served with, particularly those who paid with their lives and limbs. I am humbled by their sacrifices.”
EODMU 5 provides operational explosive ordnance disposal capability as required for the location, identification, rendering safe, recovery, field evaluation and disposal of all explosive ordnance, including chemical and nuclear weapons.
U.S. Navy EOD is the world’s premier combat force for countering explosive hazards and conducting expeditionary diving and salvage.