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Sergeant Who Saved Sailor Gets Soldier's Medal

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2002 – Then-Navy Lt. Kevin Shaeffer remembered seeing the sky and the Army sergeant who would save him after staggering out of the blasted offices of the Navy's Pentagon command center just after the terrorist-hijacked airliner struck the building.

Burned over more than 40 percent of his body, Shaeffer had escaped the smoke and flames through a back exit. After going through several offices, he made it outside and then met Army Sgt. 1st Class Donald S. 'Steve' Workman.

"I could see the light of day I found myself staring up at this beautiful blue sky," Shaeffer said. "The next thing I saw was Steve, and from that moment I knew I was in good hands."

Workman placed the badly injured sailor on a commandeered maintenance cart and rolled him out of harm's way, Shaeffer said, adding that the sergeant visited him many times in the hospital and kept tabs on his family.

Discharged from the Navy due to his injuries, Shaeffer and Workman were reunited April 26 at the Pentagon at an award ceremony where Workman received the Soldier's Medal from Director of the Army Staff Lt. Gen. Kevin Byrnes, and Shaeffer received the Purple Heart from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark.

Workman, a 20-year veteran, works at the G-8 initiatives group on the Army staff in the Pentagon. He thanked the guests for attending.

Also attending the ceremony was Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who noted, "there are a lot of people who might have done what Sergeant Workman did, but what he did was above and beyond the call of duty."

"So many people have been doing that now," he added.

Wolfowitz thanked Workman for his heroism and quoted from a dispatch from Afghanistan that, "uncommon valor is a common virtue in this fight."

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Sgt. 1st Class Steve Workman and Navy Lt. Kevin Shaeffer speak with well-wishers. after and award ceremony at the Pentagon April 26. Workman rescued Shaeffer from the burning Pentagon following the terrorist attack Sept. 11. Workman received the Soldier's Medal and Shaeffer received the Purple Heart. Photo by Gerry Gilmore  
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