Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, right, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, poses for a photo with Religious Programs Specialist Seaman David Miller, from Salem, N.H., assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), during an awards ceremony on the roof of the barge assigned to Bonhomme Richard. Miller was awarded for his efforts in apprehending a woman threatening a church congregation on April 20, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cosmo Walrath)

SAN DIEGO — A few minutes after arriving at for services at Mt. Everest Academy in San Diego on Easter Sunday, Salem High graduate and Navy Seaman David Miller found himself in a precarious situation.

A woman stood with a child, brandishing a handgun at the front of the church, he said.

"I was praying to God, keep a level head," Miller, 18, said.

Miller recalled the pastor ushered people out of the church. Miller and a few others stayed, trying to sooth the situation.

It wasn't working, he said.

"I saw an opening and I tackled her," along with one other man, Miller said. Another man standing nearby grabbed the child, he said.

For his service that day, Miller was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal on April 26.

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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.

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