Family grieving, no funeral arrangements yet in death of Marine
BRIDGEPORT - Funeral arrangements have not been finalized for a hero U.S. Marine who died in a motorcycle crash outside San Diego, Calif.
Although early reports said 33-year-old Sgt. Gary Wilson was from Fairfield, friends and family said he grew up in Bridgeport.
“He was selfless and heroic. I’m honored to have known him and witness his greatness first hand,” Kristina Hill, who photographed Wilson rescuing a woman from a burning car on a California highway in September, told Hearst Connecticut Media.
“Gary walked up and was able to pry open her door and cradle carry her to the safety of another person’s car. It was amazing to witness. So selfless and brave. One week to the day later, Gary texted me and told me he had witnessed another accident, this time involving a motorcycle, on the same freeway. He sent me photos and video of him performing CPR... again trying to save someone’s life and jumping in to help without hesitation,” Hill said.
Hill, who had communicated with the Wilson family on Monday, said they are in the San Diego area with Wilson’s girlfriend. “They are grieving,” she said.
The California Highway Patrol issued a brief press release stating that Wilson died in a crash of his motorcycle while traveling on I-15 on Friday. No other information was made available.
Wilson was assigned to the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment in San Diego.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Wilson,” said Brig. Gen. Ryan Heritage, commanding general of MCRD San Diego. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult period. This is truly the loss of a fine Marine, and he will be missed greatly.”
Wilson enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2010. He was assigned to the depot as a drill instructor in March 2016 after service in Okinawa, Japan, and Camp Pendleton, Calf.
Wilson’s personal awards include two Good Conduct Medals, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
In September Wilson was going to work when he saw a flaming car. He told San Diego news media that he jumped off his motorcycle and ran to the burning vehicle.
Wilson saw a woman trapped inside, so he broke the driver’s side window and pulled her from the car. She had a concussion and blood on her face, reports said.
“I had my jacket on and didn’t think about it. I just broke the window and pulled her out,” Wilson said, according to media reports.
“I was doing my job as a Marine. We’re here to serve the people. Not just during war time, but all the time,” Wilson said at the time.