South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Cpl. Kyle Welshans
U.S. Marine Corps 

Arlington native awarded second Navy Marine Corps Medal

 

U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jay Wilfrom, right, the adjutant chief for the 4th Marine Corps District and an Arlington native, shakes hands with U.S. Marine Corps Col. John Bolt, 4th MCD commanding officer, after receiving the Navy Marine Corps Medal at the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna in New Cumberland, Pa., Sept. 11. He received his first in 1995 for saving a teenage military dependent from drowning in Iwakuni, Japan. He received his second for saving Loretta Marburger from her burning house in 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler Birky

Master Sgt. Jay Wilfrom, the adjutant chief for the 4th Marine Corps District, received the Navy Marine Corps Medal in a ceremony at the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Sept. 11.

This is Master Sgt. Wilfrom's second time receiving the award. His first time was in 1995 after saving an American military dependent from a whirlpool in Iwakuni, Japan. At the time Pfc. Wilfrom, witnessed several teenagers swimming in the Nishiki River when he noticed them struggling to stay afloat. He and another Marine jumped in the save the teens and carried one of the teens to shore saving him.

On June 8, 2014, Master Sgt. Wilfrom received a phone call saying there was a fire behind his mother's house.

"I sprang up and ran to the fire," he said. "Me and another guy noticed there was a woman inside the house and that we needed to get her out."

According to Loretta Marburger, the woman inside the house, that's when Master Sgt. Wilfrom and Al Scroggins kicked down the door of the home and entered to search for her.

"I would want someone to do the same thing for me if I was in that situation," he said.

U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jay Wilfrom poses with his and Loretta Marburger's family after receiving his second Navy Marine Corps Medal at the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna in New Cumberland, Pa., Sept. 11. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler Birky

When they arrived where I was the house was filled with flames and smoke, to where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, Master Sgt. Marburger said.

When the two men got her out of the house they collapsed on the ground from exhaustion. That's when they noticed the downed power lines around them and continued to the road to safety.

"I knew I was getting her out of that house with me, there was no other option," he said.

"I couldn't ask for anything more, he saved my life," said Ms. Marburger. "I didn't think I was going to make it out. But when I saw them and they started dragging me out that's when I knew I would be getting out."

Master Sgt. Wilfrom became the third Marine since World War II to receive the award two times, according to Suzanne Spray of the Navy Department of Decorations and Medals.

"This is about her getting to see her grandson be born, she got to celebrate her son's birthday, it's all about that, It's not about me," said Master Sgt. Wilfrom.

 

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