By Ileen Kennedy
Utah National Guard
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — In the midst of gunfire, and with a frantic crowd trying to flee from being shot as a gunman opened fire on the famous Las Vegas Strip, a Utah National Guard member saved many lives as he repeatedly, and without hesitation returned to the line of fire to rescue more people.
For his brave and heroic actions, Gov. Gary R. Herbert presented the Utah Medal of Valor to Sgt. Chasen Brown, Sept. 1, 2020, for his disregard to his own personal safety, on that tragic day, also known as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States.
Brown, a gunner for Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery, with a couple of friends was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival for a night of music and fun in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 1, 2017. Shortly after the concert started, a man starting shooting indiscriminately into the massive crowd assembled outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel. One of the casualties shot was Brown’s friend. Brown was able to render aid to him and take him out of danger, saving his life.
While the majority of people were fleeing, and in the midst of all the ensuing pandemonium, Brown went back time and time again, rendering aid to others wounded, all the while, under a constant barrage of gunfire, saving the lives of a half-dozen people.
For the next 60 to 90 minutes, Brown assessed casualties, assisted with evacuation efforts, rendered first aid by applying improvised tourniquets, bandages and pressure dressings made from the victim’s clothing, and helped emergency responders where he could. At the end of the chaos, Brown found a bullet hole in this T-shirt, narrowly avoiding becoming a casualty himself.
“Chasen’s heroic actions on that tragic day remind me of what I am most proud of regarding our Guard members — that they serve selflessly and bravely in the defense of our nation and its citizens,” said Col. Steve Fairbourn, commander, 65th Field Artillery Brigade. “This dedication isn’t limited to when they are deployed, but rather is just a part of their character.”
Due to the highly emotional experience of the massacre, Brown chose not to comment during or after the ceremony. Instead, members of Brown’s chain of command spoke on his behalf.
“I’m incredibly proud of the actions that he performed and his ability to set aside fear and face danger to help others,” said former 1st Sgt. Shaun Harris, of Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery. “His actions highlight the incredible Soldier he is and the skills that he has. Even though he wasn’t on duty, his skills were able to be used to help fellow citizens and save lives.”
The Utah Medal of Valor is the highest state award that a Utah National Guard military member can receive. It is awarded only to those who have demonstrated extreme valor. The Utah Medal of Valor may be awarded to a member of the Utah National Guard who distinguishes themselves by courageous conduct at the risk of their own life and personal safety, above and beyond the call of duty, while in the service of the state of Utah or the United States of America and its citizens.
Harris noted that Brown’s character is truly indicative of the citizen-Soldier who serves in the Utah National Guard.
“His example speaks highly to the characteristics and values that we embody,” Harris said. “Rather than thinking about the danger he was in, he just acted instinctively. He demonstrated selfless service, personal courage, and the Warrior Ethos which is ‘I will never leave a fallen comrade.’ These are values of the Army and the Utah National Guard. He embraced these ideals with the intent to get as many people out of danger as he could. These are the characteristics and values that we look for in our citizen-Soldiers.”
“It shows that acts of valor don’t always happen in a combat situation,” said Herbert. “This is one of the civilian situations where he was National Guard trained and his own personal courage and moral compass had him act in a very courageous way.”
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