An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | July 18, 2023

U.S. Marines Assist Vermont Woman During Flash Floods

By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Alvarez Joint Force Headquarters - Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

Heavy rain relentlessly poured in Vermont starting on about July 9th. The rain led to catastrophic flooding across the state. In this dire situation, Ms. Marie Baril found herself caught in a difficult scenario while driving home. Her vehicle suddenly had a flat tire in an area where flooding was eminent and visibly encroaching around her.

“I’m not helpless, I maintain my own property, but I’ve never felt helpless like that before, ever,” Ms. Baril said.

As she opened the hatchback of her car to reach the spare tire, all four of her winter tires, which were stacked on top of the spare, fell into the road. She began to get anxious.

“I was panicking. I know nobody would have gotten to me in time. The water came up a foot in the 15 minutes I was there. That was scary!”

Two U.S. Marines happened to be driving by when they noticed the woman’s predicament, their military instincts alert to the dangers of the storm. Without a second thought, they pulled over to help.

Staff Sgt. Juan Padilla, and Sgt. Alex Marrufo with the 2nd Battalion, 25th Regiment based in Garden City New York, were on their way to the Ethan Allen Firing Range (EAFR) in Jericho, Vermont, for training exercises.

“Sgt. Marrufo and I had just finished fueling our rental truck when we saw Ms. Baril open her trunk and the tires fell out. She started to yell for help and we went over to assist,” said Padilla.

Their presence, and willingness to assist someone in danger, saved her from a perilous situation. Their act of selflessness demonstrated the values instilled in them as Marines – protecting and assisting those in need, even in the face of danger.

“We were able to change the tire quickly and get Ms. Baril back on her way home. Unfortunately, by that time the waters had risen and all the roads going to EAFR were closed due to flooding. All the hotels in the area were also fully booked so we were forced to spend the night in the truck,” said Padilla.

When Ms. Baril arrived safely at her home after the harrowing flood rescue, she felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief.

“It scares me to think what could have happened,” Baril said.

Wanting to express her heartfelt thanks and let the Marines know she made it home safely, she picked up the phone and called EAFR. The call was received at the Battle Desk and Ms. Baril recounted the harrowing experience and how the Marines’ arrival had been nothing short of a miracle. A few days later Padilla and Marrufo received the message that she had made it home safely, and her gratitude meant a great deal to them. It reinforced the significance of their duty and the impact their actions had on people’s lives.

The incident caught the attention of the Adjutant General of Vermont, Maj. Gen. Greg Knight. Knight wanted to recognize the Marines for their actions and arranged for a small gathering where they would be presented with one of his coins. Their selflessness and dedication exemplified the values of the military community, and Knight wanted to recognize them for their exceptional service. Knight and Marrufo were unable to attend the coining ceremony at EAFR.

U.S. Army Col. Matthew Brown, Garrison Support Commander for the Vermont National Guard, presented the coins to Padilla at the gathering with Ms Baril also present. Brown praised Padilla and Marrufo for their unwavering dedication to duty, emphasizing how their actions had made a life-changing difference for Ms. Baril.

“I would have been stranded there with rising waters and no way to get home. I wanted you to know that act of kindness made a huge difference in my life. I will think of you fondly for the rest of my life,” Baril told Padilla.

Padilla felt a deep sense of pride, knowing their actions made a meaningful impact on someone’s life.

“We’re very very happy we were there and were able to help, and that you made it home safely,” Padilla told Baril.

National Guard News
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, left, chief, National Guard Bureau, meets with Panama Minister of Public Security Juan Manuel Pino Forero at the Ministry of Public Security, Panama City, Panama, Aug. 28, 2023. Panama and the Missouri National Guard have been paired in the Department of Defense National Guard State Partnership Program since 1996.
Hokanson: Panama a Global Crossroads, Key Security Cooperation Partner
By Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely, | Sept. 19, 2023
PANAMA CITY, Panama – The Republic of Panama is a bridge that connects the Americas. Its renowned canal is one of the most strategic waterways in the world. It also is a key security cooperation partner for the United States,...

The 35th Infantry Division hosted the First Annual Division Readiness Symposium Sept. 9-10, 2023, welcoming a diverse array of units from the Army National Guard in several states to Division Headquarters in Leavenworth, Kansas. The event aimed to enhance communication and understanding, ensuring operational, exercise and deployment readiness.
35th Infantry Division Hosts 2023 Readiness Symposium
By Sgt. Evan Anderson, | Sept. 19, 2023
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – The 35th Infantry Division hosted the first Division Readiness Symposium, welcoming a diverse array of Army National Guard units from several states to division headquarters Sept. 9-10 to enhance...

California Air National Guard civil engineers build tents on San Clemente Island to prepare for the Grizzly Flag exercise Sept. 6-12, 2023. The six-day exercise among the five California Air National Guard Wings demonstrated Agile Combat Employment in a hub and spoke configuration.
Cal Guard Air Wings Demonstrate Interoperability, Deterrence
By U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tawny Dotson, Staff Sgt. Joseph Pagan, Master Sgt. Charles Vaughn, and Master Sgt. Dave Loeffler, | Sept. 19, 2023
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Airmen from all five California Air National Guard wings came together at March Air Reserve Base and San Clemente Island for the Grizzly Flag exercise, demonstrating Agile Combat Employment at an austere...

U.S. Air Force Maj. Stephen Brightman, Bilateral Affairs Officer, conducts an engagement during exercise Cope Thunder 23-2, Clark Air Base, Philippines Jul 7, 2023. Brightman, Hawaii Air National Guardsman, is the first BAO to hold the position at the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and is tasked to further enhance the robust relationship between the United States and the Philippines.
Hawaii Airman to serve as Bilateral Affairs Officer in the Philippines
By Master Sgt. Mysti Bicoy, | Sept. 18, 2023
MANILA, Philippines – Bilateral Affairs Officers are instrumental in global diplomacy, nurturing diplomatic ties and bolstering international alliances. Their role is crucial in establishing constructive and harmonious...

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard Commander, and Royal Thai Air Force Group Captain Nat Kamintra, exercise director, serve lunch to children at Nong Phluang Yai primary school in Korat, Royal Kingdom of Thailand, September 13, 2023. This community outreach partnership was a core part of the Enduring Partners 2023 exercise between the Kingdom of Thailand, the Washington and Oregon Air National Guard. The school visit allowed us to connect U.S. military, Royal Thai military and the community of Korat.
Washington, Oregon, Airmen Visit School During Enduring Partners
By Tech. Sgt. Michael Brown, | Sept. 18, 2023
KORAT, Thailand –The Washington and Oregon Air National Guard and the Royal Thai Air Force visited Nong Phluang Yai primary school during Enduring Partners Sept. 13.The military personnel brought soccer balls, volleyballs,...