A quick-thinking Army chaplain became a hero when he intervened during a hostage situation with an unstable soldier who was armed with a machete.
Capt. Matthew Christensen, stationed at Fort Wainwright in Alaska at the time, went to counsel a solider on Feb. 28, 2015. When he arrived at the scene, the soldier was intoxicated and had a machete.
The soldier, who was not identified, had at first indicated he was going to commit suicide, but became more and more hostile as time went by, Christensen told the Army Times.
As the soldier was speaking with family members on speakerphone, the soldier’s roommate and another chaplain arrived at the scene.
“He basically told (his parents over the phone) that they had failed him in his growing-up years to protect him from his abusive father,” Christensen said. “Then he declared that he had three hostages, and that he was going to kill all of us that night to get back at his family.”
“When he went to swing the machete, there weren’t too many other options but to physically jump in and grab and restrain the soldier,” he said.
Once he tackled the soldier, the captain was able to kick the machete away from him.
“All I was thinking of was, ‘How do we get out of this situation without somebody being hurt,’” he said.
Christensen was awarded a Soldier’s Medal at Fort Benning, Georgia, last week for his heroic efforts. The Washington Times reported that the recognition is the highest Army personnel can receive during a non-combat situation. The citation read, “Chaplain Christensen had only a moment to react and risked his own life to save the life of another soldier. His efforts made a difference and ultimately saved two soldiers’ lives.”
Lt. Col. Joel Newsom said he was impressed with Christensen’s judgement, adding that the chaplain was deserving of the honor.
Chaplains in the armed forces might not be trained or intended for combat, but they still have to be tough enough to keep up with the military personnel they serve. It’s good thing this chaplain arrived when he did and was able to contain the situation before anyone was hurt.
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H/T The Daily Caller