The USO is honored to name the 2020 USO Service Members of the Year. Get to know this year’s honorees:
Staff Sgt. Nigel C. Archer, Jr. | USO Airman of the Year 2020
Staff Sgt. Nigel C. Archer, Jr., displayed quick thinking, exemplary leadership and heroism while responding to an accident near Comayagua, Honduras. While stationed at Soto Cano Air Base with the 612th Air Base Squadron, Archer noticed fresh tire skid marks disappearing from the road. He realized that a vehicle had driven off the roadway after being involved in a collision. Jumping into action, Archer slid down the 50-foot wet embankment, where he discovered an overturned van with a family of local Hondurans trapped inside.
Archer immediately secured the scene to begin extracting the victims out of the vehicle. Despite a language barrier, he created an expedient rescue plan and directed others to call for emergency help. Archer assessed the victims’ injuries to help paramedics, even placing an improvised splint on a victim’s broken arm. He then aided with transportation, moving the injured victims up the hill and out of the rain. Archer’s lifesaving actions directly contributed to the recovery of all nine passengers.
Archer currently serves with the U.S. Air Force’s 728th Air Mobility Squadron and is from Havelock, North Carolina.
Sgt. Mary Ehiarinmwian | USO Soldier of the Year 2020
Sgt. Mary Ehiarinmwian was driving to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to conduct Physical Readiness Training. She was not expecting to save someone’s life that morning. Ehiarinmwian was unknowingly driving behind a vehicle of a soldier from the same unit. Before she knew it, the vehicle in front of her suddenly lost control and rolled over several times before coming to rest, upside down, on a steel property gate, almost impaling the driver. Without hesitation, Ehiarinmwian pulled her vehicle over and rendered assistance, asking the driver if he was injured. The driver was confused and in pain but responsive.
She then proceeded to pull the driver from the smoking vehicle to get him to safety. She stayed with the driver until medical assistance arrived on site, providing further treatment. Ehiarinmwian selflessly placed herself in harm’s way to save the life of not only another human being but also of a fellow comrade. She set all things aside and did all she could to aid and assist. She placed the Army’s values before anything else and helped a soldier in need.
Ehiarinmwian serves with the U.S. Army’s 523rd Engineer Support Company and is from St. Robert, Missouri.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew J. Fleming | USO Coast Guardsman of the Year 2020
Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Fleming, a marine science technician, was conducting on-water booming operations off the coast of Georgia when a report of a capsized recreational fishing vessel came over the radio. He quickly directed his workboat to respond to assist in the recovery of two mariners from the overturned vessel. Upon arriving on the scene, Fleming pulled the mariners from the water, one of whom was unconscious. He successfully performed CPR and resuscitated the unconscious mariner.
While en route to Station Brunswick, he noticed that the other mariner was exhibiting signs of hypothermia and shock. Fleming quickly removed the mariner’s soaked outer clothing and wrapped him in his own jacket to retain body heat while transiting to the station. Fleming’s leadership and extraordinary ability to make quick decisions during critical situations resulted in two people recovered, including one life saved. Demonstrating remarkable devotion to duty at the height of COVID-19, Fleming also led the efforts to establish protocols for Sector New York’s remote facility inspection program. He safeguarded branch personnel from exposure to the virus and planned operations to ensure the 200 facilities within the area of responsibility remained compliant.
Fleming serves with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sector New York and is from Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Sgt. Nolan P. McShane | USO Marine of the Year 2020
Sgt. Nolan McShane’s most recent notable contribution took place when overseeing a training exercise in Twentynine Palms, California. During this training evolution, McShane supervised the live fire training of 14 crews while simultaneously qualifying as the commanding officer’s gunner. As he expertly executed multiple billets, he further proved his leadership and empathy for those Marines in his charge when a Marine became severely wounded. Without hesitation, McShane controlled a chaotic site, confirmed tourniquet placement and inspected pressure dressings on the wounded Marine.
McShane’s calm demeanor, tactical knowledge and steadfast leadership were critical in stabilizing the Marine prior to the air medical evacuation to a local hospital. His unyielding compassion continued throughout the Marine’s recovery. His actions during qualification and the casualty evacuation is an inspiration to all Marines within the battalion. McShane’s career has been defined through his charismatic leadership, unwavering commitment to his Marines and substantial contributions to the battalion’s operational success.
McShane serves with the U.S. Marine Corps’ 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Airman 1st Class Sikander S. Rahman | USO National Guardsman of the Year 2020
Airman 1st Class Sikander S. Rahman exemplified great bravery and calm demeanor during an off-base motor vehicle crash near Hartford, Connecticut. An off-duty police officer wrote to the Connecticut Air National Guard to recount Rahman’s immediate actions. While eating lunch at a restaurant, police officers heard the restaurant’s owner yell for someone to call 911. Before the officer could exit his seat, he witnessed Rahman running for the door.
As the officer chased Rahman out the door, they witnessed a motor vehicle flipping sideways down the street and coming to a final rest on its roof. The sole occupant of the vehicle was yelling for someone to get them out before it burned up. Rahman dove onto the ground, carefully pushed the air bag away and gently removed the occupant from the vehicle. He remained on the scene, keeping the victim calm and rendering first aid until medical personnel arrived. Without Rahman’s presence and heroic actions, the driver may not have been removed in such a safe and timely manner. His courageous efforts resulted in the saving of a civilian’s life.
Rahman serves with the Connecticut Air National Guard’s 103rd Maintenance Squadron and is from Windsor, Connecticut.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren J. Singer | USO Sailor of the Year 2020
Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren J. Singer was traveling over the Coronado Bridge near San Diego, California, returning to her on base residence, when she noticed a stranded motorist outside his vehicle. Singer asked if he needed any help, and the driver responded that he was fine. Something in the manner of the driver’s response triggered her intuition and made her feel that something was not right.
She noticed the driver putting a rope around his neck. As he was putting a foot on the barrier to jump over the side, Singer rushed to his side, pulling him back. Startled, she grabbed him and asked what he was doing. He coolly responded by saying that today was the day he was going to die. While Singer was holding the driver, she noticed a knife on the barrier ledge. She cut the rope from around his neck, dropped the knife and kicked it underneath the car. She then identified a gun in his pocket. She removed the firearm and directed other stopped motorists to lock the gun securely in the trunk and call 911.
She stayed with the suicidal driver until the California Highway Patrol arrived. Singer’s willingness to assist a stranger undoubtedly resulted in saving his life.
Singer, an aviation machinist’s mate, serves with the U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 14 and is from Williamsburg, VA.
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