When Marine Corps Cpl. Matthew Ubl saw an unresponsive man at a Walmart gas station last December, he knew just what to do.
Ubl, a light armored vehicle repair technician with Alpha Company, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division, didn’t waste time to secure the area and start performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man.
“My first thought was to make sure no one else was hurt and then I stepped in and started doing CPR and chest compressions to try to get a pulse back,” Ubl said in a Marine Corps news release. “I just wanted to keep him breathing until the ambulance got there.”
Despite no experience in first aid beyond what’s taught at Marine Corps basic training, Ubl performed CPR on the man for 15 minutes and continued to aid first responders when they arrived at the scene.
“I was tired and my shoulders were giving out, but the adrenaline just kicked in and I gave my best and helped out however I could,” Ubl said. “I was just being a good person. This is what we train for, this is what we do, and helping another person is the best thing we can do.”
Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer earned two Bronze Stars for heroic actions in Afghanistan and in combat against ISIS fighters in the Middle East.
Ubl’s life-saving actions were recognized when he was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at Camp Lejeune on June 4. Capt. Robert Mortenson, the company commander of Alpha Co., 2d LAR, said Ubl is a down-to-earth person and that the unit instantly knew they wanted to recognize him for his actions.
“He’s not out to gain accolades but is one of the hardest working Marines in the company,” Mortenson said. “So, it was no surprise me that he was the one who saved that man’s life.”
“We immediately started talking about how we can recognize him for this,” Mortenson said. “Most people are going to drive right by, but the fact that Cpl. Ubl stopped and took charge of the situation to save a man’s life, that’s the kind of Marine that we want to recognize. This is what Marines do on a daily basis; we rise above the expectations of the average person.”
The Marine Corps said Ubl’s “selfless efforts and quick thinking” reflected the service’s core values, but Ubl is not patting himself on the back for jumping in and helping the man.
“Everyone says I’m a hero, but I feel like anyone else would have done the same thing,” Ubl said. “Just because I did it doesn’t make me special. I was just the right person at the right time.”