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Silver Medal of Valor

April 13, 2022

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From the desk of the wing commander, Col Liz Sydow:

Please join me in congratulating Captain David Disselkamp of Southside Composite Squadron for receiving CAP's Silver Medal of Valor, in recognition of his heroic actions last June when he stopped at the scene of a car accident, taking great risk to himself to extract the driver from the burning wreckage. The Silver Medal of Valor is the highest individual award a member can earn in CAP. The citation reads:
 
Captain David G. Disselkamp, CAP, distinguished himself by conspicuous heroic action above and beyond the call of duty on 28 June 2021. While driving, he spotted an overturned vehicle on a nearby offramp. Captain Disselkamp immediately stopped his vehicle to assess the situation and noticed that first responders had not yet arrived to the scene. Without hesitation, he bravely sprinted across several lanes of busy traffic towards the scene of the accident and saw that the vehicle was on fire. The vehicle had flipped over several times coming to rest on its side in the middle of a high-speed blind curve. Inside was an elderly gentleman who was distressed and trapped. Captain Disselkamp approached the vehicle and directed a nearby citizen to alert motorists entering the off-ramp to be aware of the immediate danger. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he ran to the center of the active off-ramp to free the trapped motorist. Using only his bare hands, he began pulling the jagged windshield off to create an egress. Due to the vehicle’s severely collapsed roof, the windshield couldn’t be completely separated from the frame and did not create a large enough opening for the victim to escape. Captain Disselkamp quickly noticed that time was extremely limited because of a fuel leak rapidly approaching his immediate area as the flames grew larger. With the vehicle filled with broken glass, lined with sharp metal edges, and on fire, Captain Disselkamp climbed through the passenger-side window and lifted the victim out through the window. After removing the victim from the burning vehicle, Captain Disselkamp escorted the man to a safer area, assessed his injuries, and remained on scene until local emergency responders arrived. The quick thinking and heroic actions of Captain Disselkamp exemplifies the best traditions and ideals of Civil Air Patrol humanitarian service and reflects great credit upon himself, Virginia Wing and Civil Air Patrol.
 
Captain Disselkamp was recognized last night at a ceremony at his squadron meeting. In addition to having his family, close friends, and squadron present, we were joined by Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase; Mr Andrei Lipan, Chief of Staff for State Delegate Kim Taylor; Colonel Gary Settle, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police; Trooper Christopher Miskin, the trooper who was on scene; and Mr Greg Campbell, Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation. Photos will be posted in Teams and on my official Facebook page.
 
It is an honor to serve in CAP with members like Capt Disselkamp who live our core values. He truly embodies our mission of Volunteers serving America's communities, saving lives, and shaping futures.
 
Colonel Liz Sydow, CAP
Virginia Wing Commander

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