By Spc. Joshua Barnett, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana National Guard Capt. Andrew Gremillion received the Soldier’s Medal, the military’s highest award for non-combat heroism, during a ceremony at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Baton Rouge, Oct. 30.
In February 2014, Gremillion realized that a civilian was in extreme danger and immediately reacted to rescue and save a person from a sinking vehicle in a canal. His quick decision, actions taken, and selfless service saved the woman’s life.
“In my opinion, anybody that wears this uniform would have done the exact same thing I did, because we’re just programed that way,” Gremillion said. “I was just fortunate enough to be the one there to help out a nice lady in a time of need.”
Gremillion joined the Army in 1995 and transitioned to the Louisiana National Guard in 1999. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. In 2005, Gremillion commissioned as a second lieutenant. He currently serves as the force integration readiness officer for Joint Force Headquarters, Louisiana.
“Andy has served this nation with distinction and honor throughout his career. His actions on the day when he saved a lady’s life may surprise some people, but it really doesn’t surprise me,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. “I am very honored to stand with this hero today and give him this medal.”
Gremillion was with his wife and young son when he heard a loud splash. He said within 20-30 seconds, he was in the water.
“What stands out most in my mind is that as I got to the shore, my wife was standing there with my son, holding his hand. As I’m walking up, he looked up and said mommy, daddy just saved that woman’s life. To me, that was profound, he was proud of me.”
In 1922, the War Department issued orders for acts of bravery during peacetime, leading to an Act of Congress establishing the Soldier’s Medal for acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.
“This is not just any award, you have to put yourself at great risk; that means your own life at risk, and that’s something that Andrew did,” said Maj. Eric Stiller, 769th Engineer Battalion commander, who recommended Gremillion for the award.
Gremillion’s previous awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal w/ one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal w/ two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal w/ three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/ service star, the Armed Forces Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Medal, the Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, the Global War on Terrorism and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medals.