TO USMC COLONEL FOR ACT OF HEROISM
Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton will present the Navy and Marine Corps
Medal for heroism to Colonel Richard E. Ouellette, USMC, at 2 p.m. on
Wednesday, July 19, 1995, in the Pentagon. Ouellette will be recognized for
his efforts to save a pregnant woman whose car had plunged into the Anacostia
River on May 11, 1995.
While jogging along Anacostia Drive, Col. Ouellette observed an automobile
leave the roadway, go over an eight-foot-high retaining wall, and land on its
roof in the river. Within seconds, Ouellette jumped into the river in an
effort to save a woman trapped in the vehicle. After repeatedly diving
underwater into the crushed passenger compartment, Ouellette located an
unconscious woman and pulled her to the shore. He then dove underwater several
more times to check the vehicle for other passengers. There were no others.
Despite Ouellete's successful effort to free Lila W. Gamble, 39, of Oxon Hill,
Maryland, she died later that afternoon at D.C. General Hospital. However,
doctors were able to save her baby in an emergency Caesarean section. The baby,
Courtney, is alive today thanks to the efforts of Ouellette and Leonard Person,
a D.C. cab driver who also assisted in the rescue effort.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the service's highest award for heroism not
involving combat operations. Hayes Gamble, husband of the deceased, is
expected to attend the ceremony. Ouellette is currently serving as Assistant
Judge Advocate General of the Navy.
Media wishing to attend the ceremony should contact the Navy Office of
Information (703) 697-5342.