Forney sailor saves policeman’s life

Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class George Parsons III.

During the month of November, many pause and reflect on being thankful, and for one Elizabeth City police officer he is thankful that a U.S. Navy Sailor from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 was at the right place, at just the right time.

Naval Helicopter Aircrewman 1st Class George Parsons III of Forney serves as a flight crewmember and a rescue swimmer for the Norfolk-based squadron.

While Parsons was at his Elizabeth City, North Carolina residence on Oct. 24 a police officer was in pursuit of an assailant. Not wanting to interfere with official police business, Parsons chose to initially watch from a distance.

“The assailant had stolen a car and the police officer was pursuing him into our neighborhood,” said Parsons.  “I had no idea that this event was going on until the police officer and assailant ran past me.”

As the police officer caught up to the assailant they were in a scuffle. The assailant was attempting to grab the police officer’s weapon. At that time, Parsons knew he had to take action.

“I saw that the cop was outsized and that the assailant was trying to disarm him, and he was making threats against the officer’s life,” Parsons said.  “I just knew that if I did not intervene something bad was going to happen.”

Running from his residence and through an irrigation ditch he successfully apprehended the assailant.

The mayor of Elizabeth City took notice of the sailor’s actions and awarded him for his bravery during a city council meeting on Nov. 12. 

“After apprehending the assailant a representative from Elizabeth City called me right away, I knew they were trying to coordinate a way to recognize me, but I was just trying to help out,” said Parsons.

Parsons received a Mayoral Certificate of Appreciation during the city council meeting from Mayor Bettie J. Parker.

The citation, presented to Parsons read, “In recognition of your selflessness and unwavering bravery in aiding the Elizabeth City Police Department.”

When asked how the police office responded for lending a hand, he said, “thank you for saving my life.”

“I am not surprised that he did what he did,” said Cmdr. Steve Yargosz, commanding officer of HSC-9. “AWS1 Parsons truly represents what we look for in every Sailor. The willingness to take the initiative, the toughness to take on difficult, unpleasant, or dangerous tasks. As a rescue swimmer he is accountable for not only the lives of those he flies with but the lives of many of his fellow Sailors and on a daily basis he embodies the rescue swimmer ethos of ‘So Others May Live.’”

HSC-9 employs the MH-60S in a variety of missions to include: Anti-Surface Warfare, Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Maritime Interdiction Operations, Helicopter Visit Board Search and Seizure, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection, Personnel Recovery, Combat Search and Rescue, Search and Rescue, Plane Guard, Special Operations, Medical Evacuation, Non-Combatant Evacuation, Vertical Replenishment, and Disaster Relief.

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