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NEWS | May 10, 2023

U.S. Marines Save Life of Local Estonian Citizen

By Cpl. Christopher Doughty, Task Force 61/2 Public Affairs

Three U.S. Marines saved a man’s life in Tallin, Estonia, when they found him unconscious and asphyxiated in a local restaurant, May 7, 2023.

Lance Cpl. Colton Allen, Lance Cpl. Christopher Butemeyer, and Lance Cpl. Aiden Morey decided to eat at a local restaurant called Hesburger. While eating, they noticed a man unconscious in a booth nearby. When they moved closer to examine the distressed man, his lips were noticeably blue and his skin began to match. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the three Marines, assigned to Task Force 61/2 (TF 61/2), Mobile Reconnaissance Company (CTG 61/2.4), sprang into action.

“It feels good and surprising that we showed up at the right time and the right place. I jumped into action without a second thought after seeing him near death,” Morey said.

While Allen and Butemeyer worked on clearing the man’s airway, Morey called 112, a local emergency services number, and requested emergency medical technicians to the scene. Butemeyer started to administer sternum rubs in an attempt to force the man to regain consciousness while Allen monitored the man’s pulse. The man remained unresponsive. The Marines moved the man to the floor, placed him into a recovery position, and began a detailed assessment in accordance with tactical combat casualty care procedures.

“I felt confident in our abilities to do the job. We all knew what needed to be done and we all did our own individual tasks to help. I put my trust in the Marines around me and this situation reinforced that trust,” Butemeyer stated.

The Marines isolated the issue to the man’s breathing. They worked on keeping his airway clear until emergency medical services (EMS) arrived. Once EMS arrived on scene, they were able to help the man regain consciousness. The paramedics stated if the Marines hadn’t intervened, the man would have died due to suffocation.

“I wasn't sure how I felt, but the training just kicked in. We did everything in our power to keep him alive until the emergency personnel arrived. It was a sigh of relief when we learned that we helped save him,” Allen said.

For their quick thinking, Allen, Butemeyer, and Morey earned a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal: signed by Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet, and presented by Col. Ryan Hoyle, commanding officer, Task Force 61/2.

These U.S. Marines are currently deployed with TF 61/2. For more than a month, Marines with CTG 61/2.4 have been conducting training with our Estonian Allies to enhance multi domain awareness. Task Force 61/2 is a rapidly deployable and scalable coordination cell that commands Fleet Marine Forces and assigned Naval Forces in support of Sixth Fleet operations.

TF 61/2 aligns deployed forces under the Naval Amphibious Force commander; deployed amphibious ready groups (ARG), Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU), Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, Europe (FASTEUR), and multi-domain sensing forces. TF 61/2 is deployed in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations, employed by U.S. Sixth Fleet to support U.S., allied, and partner interests.