Photo Information

Pfcs. Anthony S. Roldan, Christopher M. Smith and Ryan J. Shuey, combat engineers with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, stand at parade rest in front of 1st CEB's headquarters building at the San Mateo training area Oct. 8. The Marines were presented with 1st CEB Sapper Coins by Lt. Col. Andrew Niebel, commanding officer of 1st CEB, for their actions Oct. 6 when they assisted a police officer with the Long Beach Police Department who was violently attacked by a suspect yielding a knife. Roldan, is an 18-year-old from Long Beach, Calif., Smith is a 20-year-old from Lemoore, Calif., and Shuey is a 20-year-old from Huntingdon County, Pa.

Photo by Pfc. Glen Santy

Valor has no boundaries; Three Marines help save wounded police officer, apprehend suspect

8 Oct 2010 | Pfc. Evan Santy 1st Marine Division

While sitting on the porch waiting for a home cooked meal in Long Beach, Calif. Oct. 6, Pfc. Anthony Rolden and his two friends and brothers in arms, Pfcs. Ryan Shuey and Christopher Smith, hear a gun fire in the distance. Without hesitation the three Marines spring into action, with nothing but raw instincts and Marine Corps training leading them. They race down an alley behind the house where they find a police officer fighting for his weapon and his life.

“It’s rewarding to know he’s alright,” said Pfc. Ryan Shuey, 20, from Huntingdon County, Pa. and a combat engineer, with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. “I’m glad we were there to potentially save his life.”

The three Marines were taking a break from the mess hall, and having a relaxing night with family and friends before their deployment to Afghanistan in the next few days. That night had different plans for the young engineers and they had to show the true valor of the title United States Marine.

“It looked like David verses Goliath,” said Pfc. Anthony Rolden, 18, from Long Beach, Calif. a combat engineer, with 1st CEB, 1st Marine Division. “It all happened so fast.”

“He was a big guy,” said Pfc. Christopher Smith, 20, from Lemoore, Calif. a combat engineer, with 1st CEB, 1st Marine Division. “I don’t think I could have taken him down myself, so I’m glad all three of us were there.”

When they heard the gun shot the Marines reacted instantly. The Marines rushed to get Rolden’s younger brothers and sisters inside the house, then making their way to the noise. What they found was beyond belief. A police officer, who had been stabbed in the ear and was fighting for his life and his fire arm with another man, and struggling to hold on.

“They saw what was going on and didn’t stand by, they jumped in and assisted,” said Jim McDonnell, Long Beach Police Department chief of police. “Had this intervention not been done, it’s anybody’s guess how it would have turned out.”  

The Marines immediately proceeded in helping the officer. Using their skills in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and detainee handling; the three quickly subdued the suspect. They then proceeded to administering first aid on the officer by checking for bullet wounds and stopped the bleeding from the officer’s stab wound.

“We knew what we had to do,” said Rolden. “When we heard the gun shot we did what we were trained to do; which was to run toward the fight, not from it.”

For many people a work day is from nine to five, but for service members the job isn’t over just because you take off the uniform. For these Marines that reputation was put to the test by having to go above the call of duty by literally running into the face of danger to save the life of a fellow defender of freedom.

“This is a perfect example of Marines being Marines 24/7,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Niebel, 43, from Silver Spring, Md., battalion commander of 1st CEB, 1st Marine Division. “Even after the uniform is taken off they are still living up to Marine Corps standards.”

1st Marine Division