Soldier’s Medal, “Franklin J. DeRusso”

Product ID: B-2786
Country: United States
Condition: VF

Soldier’s Medal, slot brooch, machine-engraved “Franklin J./DeRusso”. With a set of DeRusso’s dog tags; in a black leatherette case with ribbon bar. The pendant has been reversed for display.

Captain Franklin J. DeRusso “distinguished himself by an act of unusual bravery and heroism without regard to his own safety on the 19th of June 1968, at the United States Army Medical Center, United States Army Hospital, Ryukyu Islands. On that date, a suicidal patient was preparing to jump from the 5th floor of the hospital, when Captain DeRusso appeared and began to talk to him. This had no effect on the patient and Captain DeRusso crawled beneath the protective fence to the roof ledge which was only 3 ½ feet wide and quite slippery. He walked to the patient and stepped directly between him and the edge of the ledge. Captain DeRusso talked to the patient in a calm tone of voice, and moments later, led the patient back along the length of the protective fence, being careful to keep the patient between himself and the fence, thereby preventing any sudden attempt for the patient to jump off the ledge. The patient, being a much larger man than Captain DeRusso, placed Captain DeRusso at a distinct disadvantage. Captain DeRusso placed his life in jeopardy as the ledge was narrow and slippery and he would surely have been carried over the edge if the patient had made any attempt at harming himself. The patient involved in this incident was a psychiatric patient with a history of several years of bizarre and unusual behavior. He was known to have been potentially violent. There was strong evidence of organic brain damage, making him an unpredictable and unstable person even under normal circumstances. This patient was quite apt to make a sudden and unpredictable lunge and thus carry Captain DeRusso with him over the edge of the ledge to certain death five stories below. Captain DeRusso’s courageous actions were with complete disregard for his own safety and demonstrated a rare sense of obligation to his fellow man. Captain DeRusso’s actions were in accordance with the finest traditions of the United States Army and the Medical Corps.”

Dr. DeRusso was born in 1934 and died in 2015.  He is buried in Leesburg, Virginia.