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Soldier risks life to save wreck victim
Capt. Bryan Ash
U.S. Army Capt. Bryan Ash acted decisively as he rescued a man from the fiery wreckage of an overturned vehicle last fall.
Ash, a Fort Bragg anti-terrorism force protection officer for the First Sustainment Command, was driving to North Carolina, and while passing through Liberty County, noticed a van ahead of him that was about to crash, reported.
“The vehicle spun out of control and flipped four or five times, and then rolled off the embankment,” Ash said.
Evidently, the victim, Ben Magno, had spotted a large piece of debris in the road, but did not have enough time to escape the impediment and ended up crashing.
When the car ignited in flames, Ash saved Magno’s life and barely made it out alive as the flames swelled throughout the van, Assistasnt County Administrator Bob Sprinkel said.
“Ultimately, he would have burned up if (Ash) would not have gotten him out,” Eastern District Fire Chief Joe Martin said. “Magno was hanging upside down in his seatbelt screaming for help, and Ash got to him.”
For his actions, Lt. Col. Tharrel Kast from Fort Bragg believes Ash deserved the Soldier’s Medal.
The medal is given when a soldier heroically risks his life to save the life of another, but the act cannot occur during conflict with an enemy.
For a frame of reference, the same degree of heroism is required for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The conditions of receiving the medal also include having two witnesses on scene who can verify the incident, Sprinkel said.
Kast has run into a snag though, because the two witnesses on the scene (Jeff Jenkins from Pineville, S.C., and Magno from Jackson, N.J.) cannot be reached.  
Without these witnesses, Ash cannot receive the medal, and so, Sprinkel and Kast are petitioning to the Liberty County community to see if anyone else witnessed the wreck or has information concerning it.  
“I truly believe Capt. Ash deserves this award ... and I have made it my mission to ensure he gets it,” Kast said.
Anyone with information about the incident, call Sprinkel at 876-2164.

9-1-1 Transcript
Sept. 12, 2006 at 12:51 p.m.

Dispatcher: 9-1-1. What is your emergency?
Ash: Again, I’m calling again on this emergency on the vehicle that flipped over. The van is on fire now, but the driver still appears to be alive.
Dispatcher: Where is that at, sir?
Ash: It’s on I-95 north, right before exit 76.
Dispatcher: The van is on fire?
Ash: The van is on fire. I can't stand back and watch him burn. I'm going to have to help him get out. The guy is moving around, but I need an ambulance here now in case I'm hurt.
Dispatcher: Someone's en route, sir. Is he trapped inside?
Ash: He's trapped inside.
Dispatcher: Okay, I'll get somebody out there.
Ash: In case I get out, I need somebody here too.
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