Friends remembered: Waymon L. Halsell

Waymon L. Halsell, 87, of Bakersfield, Calif., died July 11. He was awarded the medal in 1960 in recognition of his helping to save a man from suffocation after a cave-in of sandy soil occurred in the excavation in which the man was working on Jan. 6, 1959. The man was completely buried in the 30-foot-deep pit, which was four feet in diameter. Firefighters inserted a steel casing into the pit, and Halsell, then 30, an operating engineer, entered the casing and dug out sand until the man was uncovered. The rescue took more than eight hours, during which Halsell, beyond the bottom of the casing, shored up the excavation wall with his own back to keep it from collapsing further. Halsell was hospitalized for treatment of exhaustion and soreness but recovered, as did the victim.