DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND AIR FORCEOFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
For Release: Immediate Contact: Maj. Tom Wilkinson
Release No.: 1 Date: Jun. 24, 1998 (804) 775-9107
VIRGINIA GUARDSMAN ASSISTS IN RESCUE OF SUICIDE VICTIM
Sgt. Maj. Gareth R. Hilton, a soldier assigned to the 29th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Belvoir, recently participated in the rescue of a drowning victim in Cleveland, Ohio.
Hilton, 46, lives in Marshall, Va., and is employed with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department when heís not soldiering on the weekends. While visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hilton was playing with his fianceís son when he observ ed a crew member of a passing ship frantically waving and yelling. Another couple ran to the water, which prompted him to follow. In the water was a man struggling for his life.
Hilton and others formed a human-chain to rescue the man. Once they had him out of the water, they conducted first aid measures until the rescue squad arrived.
"I looked down in the water and saw a guy that looked like he had swim fins on," said Hilton. "I thought, Ďthatís strange,í but then I realized it was his jogging pants around his ankles and his wrist was tied to his neck with a sho elace."
Hilton was carrying a knife, which was used to cut the victim free and facilitate his rescue. His actions and quick thinking with the other rescuers saved the manís life.
Hilton has served in all three components of the Army. Active duty, Army Reserve and most recently the National Guard. He joined the Army in 1970 and served with the 82d Airborne Division for two years. He then joined the 11th Special Forces Group in the Army Reserve where he served part-time until 1994. He joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994, serving with the 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), he was then 1st Sgt. of Com pany A, 3-116th Infantry and is currently the Sgt. Maj. of the Division Tactical Action Center.
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