CAMP PENDLETON — The moment country music artist Jason Aldean stopped singing at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, two Marines in the crowd heard gunfire and their training kicked in.
"We looked at each other and said, 'We've got to go help,'" Sgt. Austin Cox, a 26-year-old flightline mechanic for Marine Light Training Squadron 303, part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said Monday, April 29. "Our adrenaline was rushing. You just full-blown go. As people ran out, we ran towards chaos."
On Monday, Cox and Marine veteran Sgt. Michael Vura, 26, were awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medals for exceptional bravery and selfless actions in saving lives and preventing serious bodily harm of others around them during the largest mass shooting in modern American history. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured in the shooting.
The awards were signed by Marine Corps Commandant Robert B. Neller for President Donald Trump.
Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos survived last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people, but on Wednesday night he was gunned down in another shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, California.
Just over a month since Las Vegas was rocked by the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the Air Force — a service with deep roots in the area — has unveiled a unique tribute to honor the victims of the Oct. 1 attack: a custom painted F-15A Eagle.