Coast Guardsmen honored as heroes

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Three local Coast Guardsmen were honored for their off duty heroism at the Greater Long Beach Chapter Red Cross’ fourth annual Hometown Heroes ceremony Tuesday.

Petty Officer Second Class Justin Brown, stationed in Long Beach, was honored for his lifesaving skills when his quick thinking and first aid training had a hand in saving the life of a gunshot victim outside Brown’s residence Jan. 8. Brown said he heard two gunshots and went outside to investigate. When he saw a man laying on the sidewalk bleeding, he told his girlfriend to call 9-1-1 as he rushed out to help the victim. Brown applied pressure to the wound until paramedics arrived, and directed the victim’s friends to try to keep him calm. For his quick actions, the Long Beach Police Department nominated Brown for the award saying his “decisive actions and efforts to organize chaos were key to the survival of the victim.”

Seaman Alberto Castilleja and Fireman Sean Reisner were also honored for their part in saving a live December 15. Both members were headed home after 11 hours of patrolling the waters off California when they spotted an overturned car on the side of the road. As they approached the vehicle, they noticed the driver was pinned by the steering wheel and was unconscious. The men also noticed the engine was on fire. The two pulled the man from his car through the window. Castilleja carried the man to safety and Reisner put the fire out with a fire extinguisher from a trucker who stopped to help.

Castilleja and Reisner were both assigned to the Cutter Halibut, homported in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Reisner is now attending school in Yorktown, Va.

Tuesday was the fourth annual Red Cross Hometown Heroes Awards Ceremony where 34 people were recognized for their individual acts of selflessness.

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