Only two Fort Drum Soldiers and approximately 18,520 other Army soldiers have ever received the honor that one 10th Mountain Division Solider was awarded Tuesday afternoon.
Sergeant Jacob J. Perkins, 2nd Brigade, 189th Cavalry, 10th Mountain Division, was awarded the Soldiers Medal
On July 22nd, Sgt. Perkins ensured the survival of five civilians and the safety of 24 more, over a 12 hour period, after a tour bus from Ontario, Canada, to New York City for a three-day tour, was involved in an accident and caught fire. Sgt. Perkins after entering the burning bus and assisting those in greatest need also reunited a hospitalized victim with his family after they were separated.
"This is a momentous occasion," said Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander. "If there were bullets flying and it was the Taliban, Sgt. Perkins would be getting the Medal of Honor.
"This is in fact uncommon. (Perkins) chose to do something that most other normal human beings would not do. He ran into the back of a burning bus and saved people even though he stood a 50-50 shot of dying himself," the general added.
The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the U.S. armed forces who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy, according to Army Regulation 600-8-22.
The Soldier's Medal ranks just below the Distinguished Flying Cross and just above the Bronze Star Medal.
"I still feel the same way I felt when I woke up this morning," Sgt. Perkins said. "I don't feel like a hero. I was just doing what anyone else would've done in the same situation."
For complete details and an interview from Sgt. Perkins, watch the full video story.