Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Caleb Williams, left, and Lance Cpl. Anahi Anaya pose for a photo after a ceremony on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 8, 2023. The ceremony was to award Williams with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for heroic actions that saved Anaya’s life after a motor incident. “If he wasn’t there, I would not be here today,” said Anaya. “We didn’t even know each other that well. It’s crazy how strangers can become family in an instant.” Williams used medical aid knowledge and skills he received since joining the Marine Corps. “When the accident happened, I moved without thinking and relied on the training we do constantly as Marines,” said Williams. And referring to his comrades in 3d Littoral Combat Team, Williams said, “I did what any of you would have done if you were in my place, I know that for sure.” Williams, a native of Salisbury, N.C., is an infantry rifleman with 3d LCT, 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division. Anaya, a native of Momence, Ill., is an administrative specialist with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jacqueline C. Parsons)

Photo by Sgt. Jacqueline Parsons

Always Ready, Always Prepared

12 Dec 2023 | SSgt. Luis A Vega 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment

On the evening of May 5, 2023, Williams, a native of Salisbury, NC, was riding his motorcycle with fellow Marines on Highway 3 heading towards Honolulu, HI, when he experienced mechanical issues with his motorcycle that forced him and his group to pull over. While assessing the issue, LCpl. Anahi Anaya, an administration clerk with 3d Marine Littoral Regiment, 3d Marine Division, was struck and critically injured by a passing vehicle that fled the scene.

“I was losing speed. Being on the highway, all I could think about was getting over and making it to the shoulder.” Williams said.

Williams was walking over to Anaya’s parked motorcycle when he heard the crash behind him.

"As soon as I heard the crash, I felt that gut wrenching feeling. As I turned around, I saw her on the ground a few feet away from my motorcycle." Williams said.

Williams sprinted to Anaya to find her right leg had suffered a compound fracture with significant trauma to her lower right calf. Furthermore, he could see she was losing an excessive amount of blood and was falling in and out of consciousness. He grabbed her by her riding jacket and moved her further from the highway into a safer location. He then removed his sweatshirt and created a makeshift tourniquet around her right thigh in order to stop the bleeding. Following skills that he had learned in combat lifesaving courses, he began to triage for other significant injuries around her head, spine, and other limbs, all while keeping her calm and alert. Once he had addressed all significant injuries, he called emergency services and gave them their location.

“All I could think about was keeping her safe, calm and alert,” Williams said. “I didn’t want her to think the worst while it was all happening. I then pulled my phone out and called 911 to give them our location.”

“All I could think about was what I could do to stay alive,” Anaya said. “Thankfully I was conscious and able to reassure Williams and keep him calm as well.”

Soon after, a civilian bystander pulled over and came to assist Williams. Anaya alerted Williams that she was still hemorrhaging from her leg and that she had an actual tourniquet in her motorcycle bag. Williams told the civilian to grab it, but the civilian was unable to locate it. This forced Williams to continue to treat her injuries with what he had on him at the time.

“I am grateful they stopped, helped with traffic, and assisted with the care of Anaya,” Williams said. “Their truck was a lot bigger than a motorcycle and passing drivers were more aware that something was going on.”

Approximately 15 minutes later, emergency medical services and law enforcement arrived. Anaya, despite her significant loss of blood, was still conscious and able to communicate with paramedics on what exactly happened to her and what actions Williams did to provide immediate care. Meanwhile, Williams provided statements with law enforcement detailing the nature of the hit-and-run that they had just experienced. Anaya was transported to the trauma unit at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu that evening.

“While waiting for emergency services it felt like time was going by so fast and slow at the same time,” Williams said. “When they arrived, I was relieved they were there and that she would be receiving the proper treatment for her injuries.”

Displaying astonishing effort and coolness during the events of the accident, Williams' quick reaction time played a critical role in saving the life of his fellow Marine. Despite the significant trauma Anaya was able to regain full function of her leg and is now back working with 3d MLR.

“She’s so strong and still rides, even after the traumatic injury,” Williams said. “She’s come so far after all the surgeries. I’m amazed every day by her willpower and everything she’s overcome.”

“I am thankful that he was there. He was my lifeline during the whole event,” Anaya said. “I wouldn’t be alive if he wasn’t there.”
3d Marine Littoral Regiment