COLUMBUS, Ohio –
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s all about being in the right place at the right time,” but these words couldn’t be truer for Daniel McCombs.
Daniel McCombs is a Defense Logistics Agency police officer at the Defense Supply Center Columbus servicing DLA Land and Maritime, Defense Finance and Accounting Service – Columbus and military and civilian tenants.
After his Sept. 11 shift, McCombs was driving home in uniform like usual except the part of Interstate 670 he takes was closed due to the city’s SmartLane project construction so he had to take an alternate route.
This route landed McCombs driving west on 5th Street around 9:45 p.m.
As he approached a hill, he noticed traffic was slowing down. When he got to the top, he realized the reason – a totaled vehicle was in the middle of the road, left of center.
McCombs described the car as being smashed completely in the front with air bags deployed and the engine on fire.
Immediately without thinking, he pulls over to assist.
“It’s just being a DLA employee at the right place and the right time, helping out when it seems like some other people needed direction,” McCombs said.
After asking questions to bystanders filming the occurrence, he learned that the driver was still in the vehicle.
The vehicle had four-doors but he couldn’t recall the type, McCombs explained.
It was dark outside and he was focused on ensuring the safety of the witnesses. This is when he noticed the car on flames and heard someone was still inside, he immediately went into response mode – trying to figure out how to save the driver.
McCombs sprang into action and tried to remove the door; however, it was sealed shut due to frame damage from the accident.
Enlisting the help of three men at the scene, the group was able to bust the window and get the driver out of the vehicle and to a safe area.
Two minutes later, the vehicle was engulfed in flames.
The driver was unresponsive from the wreck but had a pulse and was breathing. He came to for a moment and passed back out.
Columbus emergency responders arrived moments later. The fire department was able to safely put out the fire and the emergency medical technicians attended to the driver.
McCombs stayed on the scene until the EMTs verified the driver was responsive and transported him to the hospital.
During a Sept. 18 Installation Support Director’s Call, McCombs was presented with a Commander’s Coin as a token of appreciation from Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer, DLA Land and Maritime and DSCC commander.
“We’re never off duty,” Palmer said addressing McCombs heroic actions.
“You learn to be prepared for the unexpected. Be willing and ready to take action when the unpredictable happens. When you least expect it--Expect it!” Palmer said speaking about those that have dedicated their life to service, like McCombs who served 11 years in the Army National Guard and as a public servant at DSCC for the last six years.
Meet DLA Police Officer Daniel McCombs
Why did you decide to become a police officer? I was originally drawn to law enforcement by the influence my father had on me with him serving 27 years with the US Marshals Service as he moved up the ranks to Chief of the Southern District of Ohio. This helped me with my decision to join the Army National Guard and serving as a Military Police Officer for 11 years. After leaving the Army and working physical security for Defense Information Systems Agency for a number of years, becoming a Defense Logistics Agency police officer seemed like a great transition to furthering my federal service and allowing me to continue to serve in the interest of others.
How long have you been a police officer? 12 years. Eleven in the Army National Guard and one year at the Defense Supply Center Columbus.
How long have you worked for DSCC? 6 years. One year as a police officer and five years as physical protection for DISA.
What is your most memorable call? I wouldn’t say I have a memorable call per se, but I do enjoy every call and having the opportunity to help someone in need. If I get to drive fast...that’s just an added perk. The most extensive call was probably the active shooter exercise that three other officers and I partook in earlier this year. It allowed us to demonstrate our offensive driving, room clearing techniques, evacuation of personnel, take down of a threat and the triage and care for wounded while coordinating with outside agencies. I felt privileged to be able to take part in that scenario and know we have the skills needed if the chips ever land face down.
What are your hobbies? Definitely hiking, my dog Murphy, soccer and ballroom dancing.
What advice have you been given that has had the most impact? The best advice that’s stuck with me has been "Think it through because slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
What is your favorite quote? Some of my favorite quotes are "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" and "Anything worth doing, is worth doing right."