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Ryan Bakken, Forum News Service, Published April 26 2013

Minnesota man awarded for rescue

KARLSTAD, Minn. – A native of Karlstad recently received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism while on leave in Japan in December 2011.

Corey Baughman, 38, was awarded the medal April 17 in Denver.

Now retired from the Navy, Baughman was on leave in Japan in late 2011, climbing Mount Fuji, when he rescued another climber who had fallen 600 meters from the mountain’s summit. After administering first aid, Baughman and three other climbers carried the semi-conscious man down the steep and icy slope to a location accessible by a helicopter, according to a news release by the Navy.

The medal is awarded to members of the Navy or Marine Corps who have distinguished themselves by heroism not involving conflict with the enemy.

Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, presented the medal to Baughman.

“Corey Baughman is a real-life hero,” Tillotson said in a Navy news release. “He embodies everything that is good about our sailors and our citizens.

“Whether supporting salvage operations following the sinking of a (Korean ship) or tsunami relief efforts in Japan, he spent his entire career putting the safety of others before his own, both on and off duty, and we are honored and proud to recognize his accomplishments.”

‘Unexpected honor’

Baughman served nine years in the Navy as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, being deployed twice in support of operations in Iraq before he was honorably discharged in February 2012.

“This is a very unexpected honor,” Baughman said in the news release. “It is its own reward when you find yourself in a position to do something worthwhile and you are able to do it. I would like to share the honor of this award with the courageous people I served with, particularly those who paid with their lives and limbs.”

It’s unclear how long Baughman lived in Karlstad, as he did not graduate from Tri-County High School.

Baughman declined requests for an interview.

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