A South Korea-based soldier received a local award on Thursday for his heroics in preventing an aggressive dog from attacking a Korean girl and her grandmother.
The mayor of Pyeongtaek City presented Spc. Jonathan Roman Rios with a plaque for his Feb. 19 actions, according to a 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade release.
"“His brave deed to save citizens in a dangerous situation has unlimitedly moved many citizens’ hearts,” said Mayor Jung Jang-Seon. “I will put more effort in creating a healthy society where the righteous deed should be respected from now on.”
Rios, an avionics and survivability equipment repairer assigned to B Company, 602nd Aviation Support Battalion, came upon the dog and the family while walking toward a friend’s birthday party in town, the release said.
"All of the sudden a dog got loose and that’s how it started,” Rios said in the release. “There were people on the sidewalk and there was this little girl with her grandma. I didn’t want the little girl to get bit by this big, white, husky-like dog, so I got in the middle of the situation.”
He stepped between the people and the dog, shouting at it while using his backpack to shield himself.
“Once I saw everyone had left, I said, 'Okay this is my time to run’,” Rios recalled. “I grabbed my backpack and tried to run, but he bit me and held on for a while.”
He was treated for his wounds, and got vaccinations, at Camp Humphreys, the release said.
“I’m very proud of the soldier’s actions in the face of danger,” said Col. Brian T. Watkins, his brigade commander. “It truly embodies the personal courage we want in all of our soldiers."
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.