VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE -- A Canadian exchange officer assigned to the Combined Force Space Component Command received a Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation award on June 15, 2021, for his decisive and helpful actions when responding to a local vehicle accident nearly a year ago.
Royal Canadian Air Force Sergeant Michael Fuller, an operations flight chief with the 18th Space Control Squadron, received the Canadian award before a small audience of U.S. and international coworkers at the Combined Space Operations Center. Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Alain Pelletier, the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, officiated the ceremony virtually.
Represented by a gold bar bearing three gold maple leaves that will now adorn Fuller’s service dress, this award recognizes deeds or activities performed beyond the demand of normal duty.
“I would like to thank Sergeant Fuller for his steadfast and selfless leadership in response to a motor vehicle accident,” said Pelletier from Colorado Springs, CO. “I am proud that when called up, you stepped up and provided the assistance required to ensure they were safe and cared for until emergency crews arrived. Wear this award proudly and let it serve as a reminder of the impact your leadership played on these two individuals’ lives.”
According to the citation accompanying his award, Fuller happened upon an accident involving two vehicles in Orcutt, Calif., on the evening of July 14, 2020, and “…immediately proceeded to assist the driver of one smoking vehicle by prying the door open and escorting the confused victim to safety while another person contacted emergency services.” Aided by a bystander, he also moved an intoxicated occupant to safety from the second vehicle with an engine fire.
“All I was concerned about was providing aid to people in distress,” stated Fuller. “Once the police took over the scene, they informed me that the occupant of the vehicle in the road was intoxicated.”
To this day, Fuller still thinks about the harrowing event. After reading local news coverage about it, he identified and made contact with the unfortunate driver of the vehicle that incurred the head-on collision with the intoxicated driver’s car.
“I later found out that he is an active-duty Air National Guard member,” said Fuller. “When I reached out to him to check on his health, he said he was happy I contacted him and that he was very thankful for my actions.”
Fuller was quick to respond when asked if he has any advice to share with others who may find themselves in a similar emergency situation.
“It is important to act and not fall for the bystander effect,” he said. “There were a few people who were just watching, and when I directed them to act in certain ways, like to call 9-1-1 or help extract the victims, they all complied.”
“I am grateful that I was able to help out a couple of U.S. citizens, especially a member of the military that I am honored to serve with,” Fuller concluded.