FAIRMONT, W.Va. -- The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit prides itself on being ready for any emergency at a moment's notice. On the afternoon of May 9, a little girl put the Marines' preparedness to the test.
As part of the MEU's Training in an Urban Environment Exercise, Marines with MEU Support Group-24, were driving through the Fairmont, W.Va., area in a vehicle convoy. As they approached the Fairmont East Junior High School, they instantly knew something was wrong.
"As soon as we got [to the school], I started hearing everyone shout, 'Get Doc! This little girl is hurt,'" said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Silvers, a hospital corpsman with the MSSG-24.
The convoy had barely stopped before Marines began pouring from their humvees toward the accident site, finding Mariah Murphy being helped by her family from the asphalt of the school parking lot to her family's vehicle.
"At first I thought her head was busted open," said Silvers. "So I ran over to where she was."
Her family began explaining that she had slipped off the rail she was walking on, causing her head to hit against the cement base of a nearby light pole.
"On my initial assessment, I found that she had a [deep] two-inch laceration to the forehead, and abrasions to her cheek and arm," said Silvers, 23, a native of Houston.
He quickly bandaged her forehead with gauze and medical adhesive tape as her mother washed the blood from her hands and face.
"It's different working on a little girl than Marines," said Silvers. "Usually [children] don't have as high of a pain threshold, but [Mariah] was tough. She was amazing."
After bandaging her up, Silvers did a second assessment to check for broken bones or anything he might have missed during his first response to her injuries.
As the Marines and sailors prepared to resume their training, Mariah's mother thanked the good Samaritans and gave credit where she thought it was due.
"We prayed for help," said Shannon Murphy. "And He sent the Marines."