New Correctional Officer awarded U.S. Army medal for heroism

By OPEC Staff

Photos by CDCR staff photographer Eric Owens

The same day that Arturo Pacheco was sworn in as a member of the most recent class of CDCR Correctional Officers, he was presented with the Soldier’s Medial for heroism by Maj. Gen. Lawrence A. Haskins, Commander of the California Army National Guard.

medal presentation

Maj. Gen. Lawrence A. Haskins, Commander of the California Army National Guard, presents the Soldier’s Medal to CDCR Cadet Arturo Pacheco on Friday.

He was part of a graduating class of almost 200 cadets who on Friday become Correctional Officers.

The Soldier’s Medal was created by Congress in 1926 and is awarded for heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict with an armed enemy.

Officer Pacheco earned the medal on July 27, 2012, while serving in Afghanistan, according to the Army.  Army Sgt. Pacheco was working on a bridge site when he was told there had been a vehicle accident about two miles down the road.

He prepared his mine-resistant, armor-protected (MRAP) recovery vehicle and headed for the accident scene, where he found an overturned fuel truck leaking large quantities of fuel and the driver trapped inside.

Sgt. Pacheco maneuvered his MRAP into position and climbed on top of the overturned truck to attach chains from the MRAP boom.

As the truck was being lifted, parts of the damaged vehicle began to fall, including the truck’s batteries. Held only by connecting cables, the live batteries were dangling just 18 inches above a growing pool of gasoline.

At risk to his own life, Sgt. Pacheco continued the mission. As the truck was lifted, the pinned driver began screaming in pain. Sgt. Pacheco then crawled into the cab where he discovered that the seat arm rest was stabbing the driver in the back. He tore out the arm rest.

Sgt. Pacheco raised the overturned truck as high as possible with the MRAP, but the driver’s left leg was still pinned between the seat and the dashboard.

Sgt. Pacheco noticed a small hydraulic jack and instructed a member of NATO forces from Romania to use it to separate the dash from the seat.  While he did, Sgt. Pacheco removed debris from the cab.

After about 45 minutes, Sgt. Pacheco had created enough space to free the driver from the vehicle so he could receive medical attention and be evacuated.

The Army citation recognized that Sgt. Pacheco’s actions directly contributed to the saving of the driver’s life.

medal presentation 2

Maj. Gen. Lawrence A. Haskins, left, Commander of the California Army National Guard, and Arturo Pacheco, who received one the Army’s highest honors for heroism and become a CDCR Correctional Officer on the same day.


13 Responses

  1. Steven Jones, HDSP Friday, April 25, 2014 / 5:56 pm

    Thank you, sir, for your service to our country and your fellow soldiers.

  2. F. Azevedo, CDCR Captain Thursday, April 24, 2014 / 4:39 pm

    Well done sir. Great to see the Army recognize your heroic actions. Welcome to the CDCR family.

  3. JJ Hughes Wednesday, April 23, 2014 / 8:37 pm

    Congrats. Thank you for your service.

  4. David Velasquez Wednesday, April 23, 2014 / 6:23 pm

    Outstanding job, Soldier; carry-on.

  5. kawatha Geter Tuesday, April 22, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    Well done and thank you for being a member of our armed forces.
    – retired SGT K.Geter

  6. Donna Lisch Tuesday, April 22, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    Well-deserved recognition.

  7. Pamela.Sharpe Tuesday, April 22, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    Thank you for your serivce and welcome to the CDCR Department. USAF vet

  8. Denise Blige Tuesday, April 22, 2014 / 4:17 pm

    Congratulations, partner. Great job! I appreciate your contribution to our country as well as our CDCR family. Thank you for being the hero that you are.

  9. E. ROSS Tuesday, April 22, 2014 / 4:00 pm

    Action figure Sgt.Pacheco!

  10. Mike Tuntakit Monday, April 21, 2014 / 10:38 pm

    Thats is awesome. Great job, Art! True Hero.

  11. Michael Hooge Monday, April 21, 2014 / 10:29 pm

    Outstanding, Sir, and welcome to the Department!

  12. Zavala Monday, April 21, 2014 / 9:17 pm

    HHHOOOAAAHHH! Great Job! Lead the way!

  13. Douglas Hickernell Monday, April 21, 2014 / 8:37 pm

    Congratulations and thank you for a job well done! Am honored to learn of your heroism.

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