AUBURN, N.Y. --
Making Marines, winning our nation’s battles and developing quality citizens are some of the missions of the Marine Corps. Staff Sgt. Nicholas G. Bibby is proof that these missions are still being carried out.
A two-time combat veteran, Bibby is now finishing a tour as a canvassing recruiter at Recruiting Station Buffalo, 1st Marine Corps District. On April 1 he was in Beaufort, S.C., executing a temporary additional duty assignment when he witnessed a crime and later aided authorities in capturing the suspect.
Bibby and a fellow Marine with whom he was traveling were scheduled to return to New York after completing their assignment.
While dining at a local restaurant, Bibby said he went outside to retrieve some belongings from his vehicle. While in the parking area, Bibby said he heard the distinct sound of air pressure being released from a car tire.
“I heard air releasing from a tire,” Bibby said. “I looked over and saw a man leaning over by a tire then get up and walk away. It took me a second to realize what was going on. I noticed the tire go completely flat and realized he slashed it. I shouted at the individual to stop but he immediately began to run,” Bibby said. “I went back in the restaurant and told management to call the police.”
An off-duty sheriff from a neighboring police jurisdiction who was leaving the restaurant overhead Bibby’s conversation with the manager and decided to act.
Bibby said the officer’s plan was to pursue the perpetrator and he urged Bibby to ride along to aid in identifying the individual. Bibby agreed and the two began searching for the assailant who fled moments earlier.
Bibby said the two drove around for a couple of minutes before spotting the suspect in a nearby motel parking lot slashing another car tire.
Bibby recalls the officer exiting the vehicle brandishing his badge. The officer identified himself and confronted the individual, who became uncooperative and resistant, according to Bibby. The suspect advanced toward the officer and a scuffle ensued.
“I realized the officer needed some help because he was unarmed and the suspect had a knife. I didn’t want the officer to be hurt or injured,” Bibby said.
Seizing an opportunity, Bibby reacted and applied a rear choke hold on the suspect.
“I didn’t really think about it, once I applied the choke I took him down to the ground and stayed on top of him until the officer got the knife away,” he said.
Shortly after, police officers from the Beaufort Police Department arrived on scene and took the suspect into custody.
Bibby said both himself and the police officer suffered minor injuries from the scuffle.
“Luckily there were no major injuries. The officer had some cuts on his hand and I just had a few scrapes from the ground,” Bibby said. “I’m just glad because it could have been much worse.”
Bibby was commended for his actions by the Beaufort Police Department Chief of Police, Mathew J. Clancy.
“I am thankful that there are men like Staff Sergeant Bibby who have the fortitude and courage to take action when it is warranted,” Clancy wrote in a commendatory letter to Col. D. G. Goulet, commanding officer of the 1st MCD. “Staff Sergeant Bibby’s action showed great courage and a commitment to the safety of the public. Staff Sergeant Bibby’s actions reflect great credit upon himself, your command and the United States Marine Corps as a whole.”
While some may view Bibby’s actions above and beyond the call of service, his own beliefs resonate with a tone of civic duty.
“As Marines we are sworn to protect our country and help out people as best we can,” he said. “It’s part of the commitment of our core values. I wasn’t really thinking about my own safety. I felt inclined to assist the officer just because I knew I could help him.”