Class of 2016 cadet awarded Soldier’s Medal
By Kathy Eastwood
One of the 1,171 new cadets formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets Aug. 18 during Acceptance Day was Class of 2016 Cadet Justin Dalme, from 4th Regiment’s Company B.
Acceptance Day was just a little different for Dalme as he received the Soldier’s Medal at Cullum Hall, surrounded by his company and his family.
According to the Soldier’s Medal citation, the former Army specialist was driving from an eye appointment and noticed several cars parked alongside the highway on Dec. 2, 2011. Dalme pulled over to evaluate the situation. After talking with bystanders, he realized that an elderly woman was trapped in a car rapidly filling with water.
Fully clothed and with no regard to his safety, Dalme jumped into the frigid water and swam to the vehicle. He was able to open the door and pull the unresponsive woman to safety. Once he handed her off to the people on the bank, he again dove into the water to check for other victims. There was none. If Dalme had not acted swiftly, the woman would not have survived the crash.
West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr, pinned the Soldier’s Medal on Dalme’s lapel.
“I think this is the first time a superintendent of West Point ever presented a Soldier’s Medal to a cadet, with the exception of President Roosevelt, who came to West Point to present a Medal of Honor to Cadet Calvin Titus,” Huntoon said. “It’s no surprise that a Soldier of the 82nd Airborne would act and intervene when no one else did. Just think of the number of people just watching, but it takes a Soldier or a police officer to step in and make a difference.”
Dalme took it all in stride and doesn’t think he did anything special.
“I felt (I had an) understanding with (what happened),” he said. “It’s not always the act that you do, but the condition. You never know when it is going to make a difference.”
Dalme came to West Point through the Soldier’s Admission Program. He enlisted in 2009 as a Radio Communications Security Repairman, attended basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Ga., and attended airborne school en route to his first duty station. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.