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Soldier hailed as hero for preventing suicide
Vanguard medal 2
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, right, presents a Soldier’s Medal to Sgt. John Huggins of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, during the Vanguard Swarm on Tuesday. From left are Huggins’ wife, Shannon, son Randy, Huggins and son Darian. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
“When I first heard about it, I was amazed at the individual initiative taken,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, following a medal award ceremony Tuesday. “His presence of mind was amazing.”
Sgt. John Huggins of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, received the Army’s highest peacetime honor, the Soldier’s Medal, during the Vanguard Swarm on Tuesday.
Huggins, 29, married with two young sons and a daughter, said he doesn’t consider himself a hero. He was just trying to help a fellow soldier, he said.
According to a narrative released by Fort Stewart officials, Huggins jumped into action at 1 p.m. April 13, while on duty as the charge of quarters for building 518 at Fort Stewart.
Huggins said another soldier alerted him to a suicide attempt in progress. When Huggins ran outside, he saw another sergeant attempting to hang himself from a second story barracks window.
Huggins, who did not know the distraught soldier, said instinct and training took over.
“I was on autopilot,” he said.
Huggins called the military police for assistance and flagged down a contractor’s vehicle to procure a ladder. He climbed the ladder, speaking calmly to the soldier.
Huggins said once the military police arrived, the soldier retreated into his room. Huggins lost sight of him, so he climbed into his room to locate him.
Huggins found the soldier in the bathroom, cutting his arm with a pair of scissors. When Huggins ordered him to drop the scissors, Netto refused, according to the narrative. Huggins then tried to disarm him.
Huggins said he tried to open the door for the military police, but “both my hands were full.”
According to the narrative, when the MPs got inside the room the door slammed into Huggins who had the other soldier pinned to the floor in a restraining hold.
“I knew I’d gotten hit, I just didn’t know how bad it was,” Huggins said of his injury. He received three staples to his scalp. Huggins refused treatment until the other soldier was treated by paramedics, according to the narrative.
Cucolo said the soldier was treated for mental health issues and remains in the Army.

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