Civil Air Patrol

Arizona Wing Members Honored as Lifesaving Heroes

(L-R) Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, Destiny Bain, 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit, and Maj. Randy Hammit speak after the Silver Medal of Valor ceremony.

The Civil Air Patrol honored two Arizona Wing members on May 20, the one-year anniversary of an active shooter incident at Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, Arizona. Maj. Randy Hammit and 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit provided lifesaving first aid to two teenagers who were wounded during the incident. National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith presented the Silver Medal of Valor to the Hammits, members of the 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, during an evening ceremony at the Gila River Arena.

The guest of honor at the ceremony was Destiny Bain, one of the teenagers who the Hammits cared for after she was shot. Paramedics were not allowed on the scene until it was secured by police so the Hammits administered first aid to Bain and her friend, Armando Jaime, for about 20 minutes until EMTs took over. Bain was shot in her lower leg and Jaime was shot in the chest.

Lt. Hammit, a registered nurse for more than 30 years, has stayed in touch with Bain and her mother, Kathie, since the incident. Seeing each other before the ceremony for the first time in a year was an emotional moment for the survivor and her rescuers.

During the ceremony, Bain thanked the Hammits for their help. “When I was on the ground begging and pleading for help, they were the only people that came to help me,” a tearful Bain told the gathering. “Nobody else did anything but stop and stare at me or get out their phones to record.

During an emotional reunion before the medal presentation ceremony, 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit (right) hugs Destiny Bain, the victim in a live shooter incident who received lifesaving first aid from Hammit and her husband, Maj. Randy Hammit.

“To know that the shooter was still out there, but all they could think about was to stop the bleeding in my leg, that meant a lot to me. To have you there and to know that I wasn’t alone, fighting by myself … and that you stayed there until the ambulance took me away, I couldn’t stop thinking about you.

“We shared a traumatic moment together … one that we’ll never forget. It’s imprinted on our lives and we’ll always have that memory.”

CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith first met the Hammits when they joined New Mexico Wing where he served as wing commander.

“The Hammits are good people and they do what needs to be done,” Smith said. “Randy and Kelli ran into harm’s way knowing that they were placing their lives at risk, and they did what needed to be done.

“And you did it in a manner that makes all of us proud,” he told them. “I’m very proud of you and pleased to consider you as friends.”

CAP National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith described the evening’s honorees as good people who did what needed to done despite putting their own lives at risk.

Arizona Wing Commander Col. Rob Pinckard told the audience that he wanted them to understand that the Silver Medal of Valor is “a big deal. This is the highest decoration a Civil Air Patrol member can receive.

“In my 20 years in the service of the Civil Air Patrol, this is the first time I’ve seen a Silver Medal of Valor presented,” Pinckard said, “and tonight I get to see it twice.”

The Silver Medal of Valor recognizes “distinguished and conspicuous heroic action, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of normal duty.” The honor has been awarded fewer than 150 times since it was established in 1960.

The recording of the YouTube livestream of the ceremony is available here.

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