By Ken Stone
A Marine drill instructor who rescued two women from a fiery multi-car freeway crash in September has died in another freeway accident.
Sgt. Gary G. Wilson of Fairfield, Connecticut, was killed Friday night in a motorcycle accident on northbound Interstate 15, Marine authorities said Saturday.
The California Highway Patrol reported Wilson, 33, was dead at the scene. He was assigned to 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD San Diego.
The morning of Sept. 18, Wilson stopped his motorcycle on state Route 163 in Miramar at the scene of a crash involving at least five vehicles.
He told KGTV 10News that he jumped off his motorcycle and ran to a burning car, broke the driver’s side window and pulled a woman out of the car.
“I had my jacket on and didn’t think about it,” he was quoted as saying. “I was doing my job as a Marine. We’re here to serve the people. Not just during war time, but all the time.”
After the first rescue, KGTV said, Wilson went to a second car and pried open the female driver’s door to get her to safety.
Brig. Gen. Ryan Heritage, commanding general of MCRD San Diego, extended deepest condolences to Wilson’s family and friends.
“This is truly the loss of a fine Marine, and he will be missed greatly,” Heritage said in a statement.
Wilson enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2010. He was assigned to the depot as a Drill Instructor in March 2016 after service overseas in Okinawa, Japan, and stateside at Camp Pendleton.
Wilson’s personal awards include two Good Conduct Medals, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Saturday morning on Facebook, Scott Schwerman shared a post to a Marine Corps Veterans group.
“Brothers and sisters, we need a moment-of silence,” he wrote. “We have just lost a great Teuflehueden,” German for “devil dog.”
“It was just such a short time ago that I worked with this great Marine and even shorter time ago that he saved multiple people from vehicles that were on fire due to an accident,” Schwerman wrote.
“He was an 1171 (water dog) and was currently serving as a Drill Instructor aboard MCRD San Diego. Gary Wilson, you will be missed. Till Valhalla, my brother. Rest easy as we have your watch.”
Friday’s incident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
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