31 October 2005

Props To Fellow Combat Medic

U.S. Army medic saves Iraqi policeman
October 31, 2005


BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Oct. 31, 2005) -- An Iraqi police officer owes his life to a U.S. Army medic who treated his wounds as terrorists fired on their position Oct. 10.

“I didn’t have time to think about it,” said Spc. Andrew “Doc” Suchanek, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. “I just knew I didn’t want that guy to get hurt even worse. I just reacted.”

While on a routine patrol in west Baghdad, Suchanek and other Soldiers of C Company, 1/87 Infantry responded to assist Iraqi Police who had come under fire from automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Encountering a critically-wounded police officer, Suchanek began immediate life-saving treatment.

Then a terrorist suddenly fired an RPG at both of them. Without hesitation, Suchanek threw himself on the police officer, shielding him from danger. The grenade exploded harmlessly and Suchanek continued treatment to save the life of the policeman. As his fellow Soldiers secured the area, Suchanek coordinated evacuation for his patient to a local hospital.

American care for the wounded -- civilian or military -- does not end in the street, said Capt. Douglas Hermann, 1/87’s medical officer.

“Combat medics like Suchanek provide live-saving care, and under fire,” Hermann said. “But the job isn’t done after the injured are pulled away from combat. Other medics respond after the casualty has left the front lines. There, other medics stabilize the injured and get them safely to a hospital.”

The battalion medics at Forward Operating Base Hawk in Baghdad receive casualties and get them to the combat support hospital. Hermann said providing follow-up care and getting the wounded aboard medical helicopters are life-saving tasks.

“These medics do their job with amazing speed and motivation,” he added. “They know mere minutes can mean life and death to their patients.”

(Editor’s Note: Spc. Carlos Caro serves with the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry)

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