PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - A Coast Guard petty officer was honored Tuesday for his heroic service during the Navy jet crash in 2012.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Beane received the Meritorious Service Medal, a military award presented to those who show outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States. It's considered the non-combat counterpart to the Bronze Star Medal.
Beane was off-duty when the Navy F/A-18 jet crashed into the Mayfair Mews apartment complex on April 6, 2012 in Virginia Beach. He braved smoke and jet fuel to help evacuate people from the buildings. It was then he found the pilot.
"I didn't know what I was running toward," Beane said. "I just knew that, you know, there was a lot of smoke and flames and it was an apartment complex I was assuming there was a lot of people there."
Beane and another person cut the pilot from his parachute and pulled him to safety.
"I said, 'Lieutenant, my name's Nick. I'm from the Coast Guard. I'm here to get you out of here,' because it was the only thing I could think of to say and he kind of snapped to and said he was never going to hear the end of it," Beane said.
"We are extremely proud of Petty Officer Beane," said Coast Guard Capt. Gene Gray, Deployable Operations Group commander. "He is one of our many top performers in the deployable specialized forces, and his actions are a credit to the capability and adaptability our members."
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