TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Cpl. Joseph R. Manganaro is a mortarman and forward observer with 81mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.
On June 13, 2018, Manganaro was on his way to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms to conduct training with his Marine Corps Reserve unit at Integrated Training Exercise 4-18, when he provided critical emergency medical care to a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight.
Originally, Manganaro was scheduled to be on a different flight altogether, but the plane for his connection had a maintenance issue.
“I was asleep on the plane, and I remember being woken up and hearing the intercom, and someone asked if there were any medical professionals on board,” said Manganaro.
When Manganaro is not conducting Marine Corps training, he works full-time as a firefighter and paramedic for the Stoughton Fire Department in Stoughton, Massachusetts, so he volunteered to help. Airline attendants brought Manganaro to a passenger that showed signs of having a heart attack. He was the only medical professional on board that was trained to handle such a situation.
Manganaro evaluated the man’s symptoms and provided what medical care he could using the plane’s medical bag, while the pilot made an emergency landing so the suffering passenger could receive further appropriate emergency medical care.
Eventually the plane took off again, toward Manganaro’s destination, and he arrived at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms for ITX 4-18 later that same day.
Manganaro, who is from Natick, Massachusetts, first joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 2013.
“My grandfather was in the Marine Corps. He was a Colonel in World War Two and Korea. He was a fighter pilot. And he died when I was really little, before I really had any memories of him,” said Manganaro. “But the way my family talked about him was like he could walk on water just because he was a Marine.”
He takes the responsibilities that come with both his professions as a firefighter and paramedic, and a Marine just as seriously.
“If I’m not proficient in what I do, people die, whether it’s civilians or Marines,” said Manganaro.