CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Oct. 8, 2020) Acting Under Secretary of the Navy Gregory J. Slavonic awards Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Yaisa Coburn with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during an award ceremony at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (NASCC). Slavonic visited NASCC to recognize the base Sailors and civilian who displayed acts of heroism during an active shooter emergency on May 21, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander C. Kubitza)
Twelve Naval Security Force (NSF) personnel involved in neutralizing a terror attack on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in May were awarded for their lifesaving actions during a ceremony on the base Oct. 8.
Acting Under Secretary of the Navy Gregory J. Slavonic presented 11 sailors and one civilian with awards for their roles in foiling an attack, which FBI investigators said was terrorism-related.
“I am honored to be able to present these awards today,” Slavonic said. “Five months ago, these individuals’ rapid, decisive actions, and their courage under fire, ensured no loss of life. This surprise assault could have been deadlier, but they utilized their training and responded swiftly and exceptionally thwarting the nefarious intent by the intruder.”
On May 21, at approximately 6:15 a.m., Adam Alsahli attempted to enter the Naval Air Station’s Ocean Gate. Approaching the gate in his vehicle, Alsahli shot Petty Officer 2nd Class Yaisa Coburn in her protective vest and attempted to enter the base. Coburn immediately activated the Final Denial Barrier, radioed dispatch, and returned fire. The second sentry, Petty Officer 3rd Class Levi Milligan, exposed himself to hostile fire to get to his vehicle and prepare to chase the suspect.
Stopped by the barrier, the gunman exited his vehicle and started shooting at Milligan with a semi-automatic rifle.
Other NSF team members quickly responded to the scene and engaged Alsahli. As the attacker targeted the responding personnel and their vehicles with his rifle, Coburn and Milligan killed him.
Responding NSF personnel included Stuart Levitt, a federal officer; Petty Officer 1st Class Candace Dickson, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jamie Moore, Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Wallace, Petty Officer 2nd Class Lorne Mayfield, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Delgado, Petty Officer 2nd Class Franko Hunter, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Gregory Listman.
Coburn and Milligan both received Navy and Marine Corps Medals, the highest noncombat decoration awarded for heroism.
Levitt was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Medal for Valor, the highest honor the secretary of the Navy can award to a civilian employee for unusual acts of heroism beyond the call of duty.
The seven sailors who responded to the scene received Navy Commendation Medals for their meritorious service under fire.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Colby Gillette and Seaman Edmond Cristales were also recognized for their responsiveness in securing the station’s main gate to all traffic and establishing an emergency entry point for responding mutual aid assistance.
“I am extremely proud of our Security personnel,” said Capt. Chris Jason, NAS Corpus Christi commanding officer. “The sailors who first encountered the shooter displayed tremendous courage and took immediate action under fire that allowed Naval Security Forces to respond quickly and effectively. The NSF team promptly contained the situation and prevented the suspect from gaining access to the base, its employees and residents. They definitely saved lives.”
Chief Petty Officer Scott Fiske, NSF senior enlisted advisor, added, “We train constantly to ensure the safety of our base. Our drills are varied so that we may prepare for any contingency, and the training paid off in stopping the perpetrator. I am very proud of their actions.”
Ethan E. Rocke is a contributor and former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, a New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning photographer and filmmaker. He is a veteran of the US Army and Marine Corps. His work has been published in Maxim Magazine, American Legion Magazine, and many others. He is co-author of The Last Punisher: A SEAL Team THREE Sniper’s True Account of the Battle of Ramadi.