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Utah National Guard airmen receive top awards

Posted at 4:06 PM, Jan 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-09 18:06:03-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah National Guard airmen received the Utah Medal of Valor and the Utah Cross Saturday for lifesaving actions during emergency situations they encountered last year.

The awards were presented by Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson at the Utah Air National Guard’s Outstanding Airman of the Year awards, which took place at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base.

The Utah Medal of Valor is the highest state award a member of the Utah National Guard can receive, reserved for those who demonstrate "extreme valor" and go "above and beyond the call of duty" — even "at at the risk of their own life and personal safety."

The medal was given to Airman 1st Class Jensen Martinez, who is on the 151st Civil Engineer Squadron.

The award was given for Martinez's heroic acts on Aug. 28, when he and his father during a family outing rescued two people drowning at Starvation Reservoir. They took life jackets and swam out to the individuals, one of whom was already underwater, and brought them to the shore. They gave first aid until emergency medical services arrived.

"Their actions directly contributed to both individuals surviving," a press release from the Guard said.

The Utah Cross is the second-highest state award granted by the Utah National Guard for those who show "bravery above and beyond the call of duty."

The cross was given to Technical Sgt. Urian Marshall of the 151st Security Forces Squadron.

While working at a local shooting range on June 6, Marshall helped provide life-saving first aid to the victim of a "negligent firearm discharge." He applied tourniquets to the person's legs before medical crews arrived, which police said likely saved the person's life.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson presents the Utah Cross to Technical Sgt. Urian Marshall on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.

“I am beyond proud of the actions of Airman 1st Class Martinez and Tech. Sgt. Marshall. Both acted selflessly, and in the in the truest form of what it means to be a member of the National Guard,“ said Brig. Gen. Daniel Boyack, commander of the Utah Air National Guard. “The quick thinking and application of the training they received as members of the Utah National Guard no doubt contributed to the positive outcomes in both situations.”

The ceremony also included several other annual awards given to service members.

Watch the full ceremony at the link here or the embedded video below: