Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kayden Cardona, aircraft maintenance support equipment electrician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 24, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) receives an award from Col. William Heiken, commanding officer of MAG-24, 1st MAW at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, March 1, 2024. Cardona was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for lifesaving actions. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cardona Awarded for Lifesaving Actions

7 Mar 2024 | Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney and Lance Cpl. Tania Guerrero 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kayden Cardona, an Arlington, Texas native and aircraft maintenance support equipment technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, demonstrated remarkable courage when he witnessed a terrifying motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle on January 26, 2024. Cardona instinctively provided emergency medical care to the critically injured rider. For his life-saving actions, Cardona received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal on March 1, 2024.

The incident unfolded as Cardona was driving northbound on Oneawa Street in Kailua, Hawaii. A car traveling in the opposite direction abruptly made a left-hand turn, striking the motorcycle rider from the side. The rider was ejected from his bike, resulting in significant trauma to his head and left leg.

Without hesitation, Cardona sprang into action to provide aid. He utilized his belt to fashion a tourniquet and stop the bleeding from the rider’s injured leg. Drawing upon his training in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Cardona enlisted the assistance of a nearby Marine to monitor the rider’s breathing while he continued to assess the victim for additional injuries.

TCCC is a joint standardized certification implemented within the Marine Corps to provide non-medical personnel with the medical skills necessary to ensure lifesaving treatment can be rendered in the absence of a corpsman and improve the survivability of those wounded or injured.

"Without TCCC training, I wouldn’t have known what actions to take. It was a significant factor in my confidence and my ability to stay calm that night," said Cardona as he reflected on the pivotal role TCCC played in his ability to act.

Emergency services and paramedics arrived within minutes and relied on Cardona to provide crucial information about the victim's condition. He also provided important details to law enforcement, which ultimately allowed proper documentation of the incident. The rider was promptly transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition. Pending rehabilitation, the motorcycle rider has the potential to regain functionality in the leg.

Sgt. Maj. Sara Pacheco, the sergeant major of MALS-24, commended Cardona for his actions. “Every day at MALS-24, I am surrounded by the highest caliber of Marines,” she remarked. “Our Marines are motivated and they are ready. Lance Cpl. Cardona is no exception, he is always eager to make a positive impact on those around him. His actions prove that this generation of Marines are ready to answer the nation’s call.”

Cardona's quick and decisive efforts were instrumental in preserving the victim's life and limb. Despite being hailed as a hero by some, Cardona humbly attributed his response to being in the right place at the right time.

Gunnery Sgt. Alexander Figuroa-Rincon, the ground support equipment chief of MALS-24, and one of Cardona’s direct supervisors, also expressed pride in Cardona’s actions and highlighted the importance of mental preparedness for unforeseen incidents, whether in combat or garrison.

“Cardona is one of my best maintainers. I knew he had the potential to handle tough situations. We are all immensely proud of Cardona and continue to draw inspiration from his bravery.”

Reflecting on his role in the accident, Cardona emphasized the critical importance of motorcycle safety, urging riders to prioritize protective gear to mitigate the risk of severe injuries.

“Unfortunately, I saw the effects of what riding without protective equipment looks like first-hand, and it’s scary. While gear may come with a cost, it is imperative to protect against critical injuries. I urge others to invest in protective equipment rather than risk being critically injured.”

As Cardona continues his service, his remarkable actions stand as a shining example of a Marine’s readiness to effectively respond to any crisis. His bravery and selflessness serve as a beacon of inspiration for his fellow Marines and the community at large.

More Media