Military police officer saves local man’s life

by Rick Scavetta
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs

For Sgt. Harry Nixon, a recent evening patrol near Miesau Army Depot led to the South Jersey native helping save a German man’s life.

Nixon, 38, a military police officer at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, was driving his patrol car behind the depot on a routine security check. It was just before dusk when he passed a man with a bicycle.

“I was driving along the backside of Miesau, doing a perimeter check. A lot of local nationals ride their bikes in the forest back there,” Nixon said. “This older gentleman didn’t look too healthy. I thought, ‘Well, he’s out there trying to ride his bicycle; that’s hard core.’”

Still, something didn’t seem right. Nixon turned around, just to check.

A few minutes later, as he returned through the area, Nixon saw the bicycle on the side of the road. The man was gone. Nixon got out of his vehicle and began to search.

“I wondered where he went that fast. He had a bright orange wind jacket,” Nixon said, adding that he found the man in a ditch not far from the forest road. “He had attempted to ride and had fallen over. At first I thought he was going into cardiac arrest. ‘Please don’t die on me,’ I was thinking that.”

Nixon checked for vital signs and assessed that the man was in shock. He tried the radio in his patrol car but couldn’t reach the provost marshal’s office. He then tried his mobile phone, but had no reception. He got in the car and drove down the road a bit, where reception was better, and called his desk sergeant.

German police and an ambulance arrived on the scene and determined the man was suffering from low blood sugar and was in insulin shock. They took him to the hospital for further care.

A former armor crewman with 12 years in uniform, Nixon reclassified to become a military police officer because he wanted to help people. Now he’s assigned to the 92nd Military Police Company at Sembach Kaserne, which supports U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz’s local law enforcement mission.

“Sergeant Nixon’s professionalism, quick thinking and thoroughness helped save a local German man’s life,” said Lt. Col. George B. Brown III, the garrison’s director of emergency services.

In the past, Army and Air Force conducted joint patrols. Since September, Soldiers have carried out security patrols supporting Army law enforcement efforts on Army installations. This also meant a shift toward a stronger community policing presence, Brown said.

Nixon, who is married to a German woman and watches local German news, said he was just glad he was there to help and didn’t have to later hear about some man dying in the forest.

“You have to be out there and be proactive as MPs,” Nixon said. “The more we are out there, driving around and doings things, the more we can help.”