A Philadelphia Military Academy student who helped save the life of another cadet after he was shot was honored by the US Army on Friday with what is described as “the highest award that could be given to any junior or senior ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] cadet.”
According to CBS News, Cadet 2nd Lt. Kaheem Bailey-Taylor received the JROTC Medal of Heroism after his quick thinking helped save the life of a fellow cadet who had been shot. The incident occurred a year ago.
“I am extremely overwhelmed with joy that we are here to celebrate the heroic acts of a young man who is the heart of this school,” said PMA Principal Kristian Ali. “He is an example of how outstanding our cadets can be and he is an example for them to look up and for them to respect.”
The incident happened on August 17 at a party in North Philadelphia, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. When the shots were fired, Bailey-Taylor was said to be outside the house. After running back into the house, Bailey-Taylor discovered three of his cousins and a fellow cadet had been shot.
Although his cousins’ injuries were not life-threatening, Bailey-Taylor stated that his fellow cadet’s wounds “were potentially fatal, and he needed to be rushed to the hospital ASAP.” Bailey-Taylor, who is friends with the cadet who was shot, had received first-aid and lifeguard training at the academy.
A gunshot wound to the stomach had been sustained by Bailey-friend. Taylor’s As a result, the military academy student used his hoodie to apply pressure to the victim’s wound. After two police officers arrived on the scene a few minutes later, Bailey-Taylor informed them of what he had witnessed. The officers then placed the injured victim in the backseat of the cruiser that they had arrived in. Bailey-Taylor joined his friend in the backseat and continued to help.
“I put my fingers inside his wound to stop him from bleeding out,” Bailey-Taylor recalled. And in an effort to prevent his friend from passing out, Bailey-Taylor continued talking to him. But his friend went in and out of consciousness.
“He said, ‘Bailey-Taylor, please don’t let me die.’ That message will always stay with me. It was somebody that I look at as an older brother,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Bailey-friend Taylor’s was eventually taken to the hospital and treated. For hours, the military academy student stayed by his injured friend’s side. After returning to the academy, the injured cadet has almost fully recovered and is on track to graduate.
In connection with the shooting, Philadelphia police arrested a 17-year-old male in December. Despite the fact that millions of cadets have passed through the military academy over the last two decades, only 50 of them, including Bailey-Taylor, have received the JROTC Medal of Heroism, according to CBS News.
“It is a humbling experience,” Bailey-Taylor said. Bailey-Taylor said he aims to enroll at Temple University’s ROTC and hopefully gain employment at Homeland Security.