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Joseph J. Reuter


Airman's Medal

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The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Airman's Medal to Staff Sergeant Joseph J. Reuter, United States Air Force, for heroism in voluntarily risking his life to save the life of an auto accident victim trapped in a burning car on the US-101 southbound freeway near Sherman Oaks, California, on 10 September 2005. On that date, Sergeant Reuter was traveling northbound on US-101 heading for his monthly Unit Training Assembly at the 148th Space Operations Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, when he saw a collision occur in the southbound lane, causing one vehicle to crash into the center divider and burst into flames. Sergeant Reuter immediately stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of the freeway, ran across five lanes of traffic in the dark, leaped over the five foot divider, and pulled the stunned driver to safety without regard for the flames that had engulfed all but the driver's area of the vehicle. Thanks to Sergeant Reuter's unselfish and courageous actions, the driver sustained only minor burns to his arms, face and neck, rather than the life threatening burns that would have resulted. Sergeant Reuter's quick actions undoubtedly saved the victim from serious injury or death. The exemplary courage and heroism displayed by Sergeant Reuter reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order G-084 (July 11, 2007)

Action Date: September 10, 2005

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant