Midshipman 3rd Class (sophomore) Jonathan Dennler, of Medford, New Jersey, was recently awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism while serving as Camp Guide at a Boy Scouts of America Northern Tier National High Adventure Camp.
The Navy and Marine Corps Medal is the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the United States Department of the Navy. It was presented to Dennler on Jan. 9 by USNA Superintendent, Vice Adm. Ted Carter, during a scheduled address to the Brigade. The Navy and Marine Corps Medal was first established in 1942, with John F. Kennedy being one of the first recipients in WWII.
Midshipman Jonathan R. Dennler was presented with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada on July 21, 2016. With two adult leaders and six Boy Scouts under his charge, Dennler’s crew was hit by a severe thunderstorm with wind gusts over 80 miles per hour and significant lightning strikes. Two large trees collapsed on his campsite, crushing the tent he was sheltered in and killing one adult and one Scout in an adjacent tent. Another Scout was pinned beneath the tree, while another suffered a compound fracture to his ankle. Dennler took immediate action, despite his glasses being knocked from his face by the falling tree, and at great risk to his own life. He located the camp radio and attempted to make an emergency call to bring assistance to his campsite. When radio communications failed, Dennler canoed over one and a half miles at night in 60 mile per hour winds and lightning, to evacuate one uninjured Scout and return with aid from the Prairie Portage Ranger Station. He calmly conveyed the situation to the Ranger who, under the guidance of Dennler, returned to the scene with needed medical supplies. By his courageous and prompt actions in the face of great personal risk, Dennler reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects like small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, leadership, ethics and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a federally funded Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.