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Press Advisory


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 129-02
July 12, 2002

Sept. 11 Heroes to Receive Medal of Valor

Two heroes from the Pentagon attack on Sept. 11, 2001 will be honored with the Medal of Valor at 3 p.m. on July 15 in the Hall of Heroes. The award recognizes acts of heroism in the face of danger. It is the highest award the Defense Department gives to civilians for courage and valor.

Eric M. Jones, a private citizen, was driving in the vicinity of the Pentagon when he saw American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. He stopped his car and made his way to the impact area. By this time, the initial response firemen had arrived and were attempting to stop the blaze at the point of impact. Jones saw one fireman in grave danger on a ladder; his suit was on fire. Without hesitation, Jones pulled the burning fireman from the ladder to safety. Jones then entered the building through the impact opening and began helping people.

Steve A. DeChiaro, also a private citizen, was entering the building on Sept. 11 for a meeting when the plane struck. Rather than seeking safety for himself and under extremely hazardous conditions, he proceeded to the impact area and began carrying people to safety and medical triage.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, Lt. Gen. John A. Van Alstyne, will present the medals.

Media representatives without Pentagon building passes who wish to cover this event must have proof of affiliation and two forms of identification, and should be at the Pentagon's River Entrance security booth no later than 2:45 p.m. EDT. Media representatives should contact Lt. Col. James Cassella at (703) 697-5134.