U.S. Marines are known for their fast thinking and courage in a time of need. Marines are taught from day one the core values of honor, courage and commitment. U.S. Marine Cpl. Alexandra Nowak, an administrative specialist with Alpha Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, exemplified unwavering courage when she saved the lives of three people Sept. 20.

Nowak was driving to pick up her 2-year old daughter and mother at the airport on Interstate Highway 15 in Escondido, California, when she witnessed a multi-car collision resulting in a sports utility vehicle rolling onto its side.

Nowak, a native of Forney, Texas, sprang into action to help the vehicle’s occupants. She was able to successfully retrieve the driver’s uninjured 9-month old and 4-year old children from the vehicle and help them to safety.

After pulling back the broken windshield, Nowak realized that the driver’s arm was almost completely severed. Nowak then retrieved the tourniquet she kept in her vehicle and proceeded to administer first aid and keep the driver conscious until first responders arrived.

“I remember she asked me ‘Am I going to die?’ and I told her, ‘No, I am not going to let you die,’” Nowak said.

Escondido Fire Department Officials and witnesses at the scene credit Nowak’s quick thinking and bravery as the main reason that the driver did not suffer more severe medical issues or even death.

“I was courageous, yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Do I hope I have to do it again? No,” Nowak said.

Those who work with Nowak said her willingness to help was not surprising.

“It’s not surprising that she stopped to help,” said Sgt. Shannon Miranda, an administrative specialist with Alpha Co., H&S Bn., MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton. “Her mom skills always kick in and she always tries to help people out.”

Nowak acted as any Marine should act in a traumatic event. With quick thinking and implementing the skills taught to her within the Marine Corps, she became a hero to the three people saved that day and an example to all Marines within the Corps.

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  • Paul Hermann (1985-1993)

    Outstanding service. Amazing work. Thank you Cpl Nowak.

  • Rodrigo Marquez MSgt

    Outstanding story, this is the true face of a warrior at the right time at the right place. Nothing more proud than to see a story of a Marine being a Marine. That’s what our Eagle, Globe and Anchor is about, any time any place. Thank you for your actions that saved those lives. Semper Fi.

    Rodrigo Marquez MSGT
    USMC Retired

  • George slavick

    Great job Marine You got get more than a medal From the usmc maybe some rank From a old marine 1966 to 1970 loved every minute of it would do it all over again proud to say I was a marine and you should be also all marines should be two tours in nam 66 to68 great job go usmc

  • TOM PRINCE, GySgt 69-81

    Navy Commendation Medal! Wear it proudly. Semper fidelis, Marine

  • Gilbert E. Vaquera

    CPL. Nowak, Your initiative to take charge of what could have been a tragedy was turned into a triumph for those you helped at their time of need. Thank you for making a difference, we need more people like you in this world. Semper Fidelis.

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