(WJLA) - What Navy Captain Ed “Chip” Zawislak learned as an Eagle Scout 30 years ago made him a life-saving hero at Navy Yard one year ago.
"I don't know about hero," he says. "I did whatever any good scout or any good human being would do when somebody was in need."
Zawislak may be a humble and reluctant hero, but he was pinned with the Boy Scouts of America’s top medal, awarded for unusual heroism and extraordinary skill in a situation presenting extreme risk to himself.
"Wouldn't you want to honor the person who sat on a roof for an hour and 20 minutes...and made sure you were well?” asks Jennifer Bennett, who says the Captain is her guardian angel.
Bennett was in the staircase at Navy Yard, when she came face-to-face with Aaron Alexis:
"I looked at him and he looked back...His brow was very furrowed, he was very angry...I watched him, he pulled the trigger...The shot opened up my arm essentially, and went out the back of my arm and blew away the bone and the muscle."
Captain Zawislak and another employee saw the blast before racing to Bennett and carrying her to the rooftop of Building 197.
"I had nothing else other than paper and pencil, so i took the sleeve and packed the sleeves into her wounds," describes Zawislak.
No one knew they were there for nearly one-and-a-half hours – so the Captain’s Boy Scout skills kicked in:
"We dictated a note and threw it off the roof. Hopefully through all of that, somebody knew we were up there."
Park Police got the note, and soon sent a chopper that airlifted a badly injured Jennifer Bennett to safety.
While Bennett relied on prayer to survive, Captain Zawislak says he used his Scout training:
"The first aid, acting under pressure, taking care of folks -- the leadership stuff is all taught in scouting."