Two Marines from Marine Light Helicopter Attack Squadron 367, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (fwd), earned Navy and Marine Corps Medals for their heroic actions during a January 2007 building fire at Forward Operating Base al-Qaim.
Sgt. Scott K. Piccoli and Cpl. Joshua S. Ybarra received the medals during a ceremony here July 1.
Their award citations detail the heroism and bravery of Piccoli and Ybarra as they rushed to the aid of Marines struggling to get free of a burning building. Without hesitating, Piccoli ordered Ybarra to alert a Crash, Fire and Rescue unit, then charged into the smoke filled structure.
Ybarra ran more than half a mile to notify emergency responders of the fire, then raced back to assist Piccoli’s efforts to evacuate the living quarters.
While dashing through the building, Piccoli discovered a Marine sleeping. As ammunition and cases of aerosol cans began to ignite in the blaze, Piccoli evacuated the Marine from the structure, but when he sought to re-enter the building to ensure everyone had escaped safely, firefighters denied reentry to the building
“It was the type of situation where any Marine would do what he was supposed to do,” said Piccoli, a native of Durango, Colo. and an airframes mechanic for the squadron.
The award citation was signed by Gen. James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, on behalf of the President of the United States.
“I never thought I’d get something like this,” said Ybarra, also an airframes mechanic and a Phlugerville, Texas native. “We just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”