WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) tonight honored the military men and women who administer lifesaving medical treatment to our troops on the front lines at the 5th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Gala. General Raymond Odierno, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, gave the keynote address at the event honoring corpsmen and medics from 10 branches of the active military, guard and reserve components. 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the ASYMCA, the leading provider of social and support services and programs to members of the U.S. military and their resilient families.
ASYMCA worked with the military services to select corpsmen and medics from the Army, Army Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air National Guard and Army Guard, who accepted the awards on behalf of their fellow corpsmen and medics for their dedication and commitment to service.
“Our nation’s medics and corpsmen have evolved to meet the changing needs of their brothers-in-arm,” said Eugene Habiger, General, USAF (Ret.), chairman of the National Board of Directors of the ASYMCA. “These ‘Angels of the Battlefield’ are men and women who risk everything to provide aid, to be compassionate comrades and comforting brothers and sisters when our soldiers need it the most. Their unwavering heroism is something that moves me every year that I am fortunate enough to be in their company at this fine event, and as a retired airman, something I never took for granted in my many years of service.”
The following service members received awards on behalf of their fellow corpsmen and medics:
Sergeant John C. Curtis, of Lisbon, Maine, accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield gala on behalf of his fellow U.S. Army medics. He has been deployed twice to Iraq and was selected to support a mission in a hostile area of Iraq. At 8 years old, Sergeant Curtis was inspired by his father to join the Army and continues the military tradition in his family that includes his father Darryl R. Curtis, U.S. Army; grandfather Romeo Binnette, U.S. Army KIA (Vietnam); grandfather Carroll Curtis, U.S. Navy (Ret.); and great grandfather Earle Grass, U.S. Navy (Ret.). He said his most rewarding moment in the military happened when he returned home and was greeted by the praises of his family and Battalion Commander. Sergeant Curtis was nominated for the Bronze Star with Valor Device medal for the combat events of June 28, 2008, when he treated casualties during an Iraqi attack. His past awards include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal, and he was the first enlisted soldier to receive the D.A.I.S.Y. award.
Staff Sergeant Devon Poole, of Brown Deer, Wis., accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield gala on behalf of his fellow U.S. Army medics. Staff Sergeant Poole was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor for his heroic efforts to save the life of is squad leader, who was shot in the abdomen by enemy fire. Using his own body as a shield, Staff Sergeant Poole was able to protect him from further injury, as well as later administer lifesaving aid and prevent him from going into shock. Perhaps a moment that stands out most vividly for Staff Sergeant Poole — an incident that he said demonstrates the significance of the role of the medic — was treating an Iraqi man’s daughter, whose forearm had been severely injured and side grazed by a bullet. Staff Sergeant Poole continues the military tradition in his family after his grandfather Technical Sergeant Fred Poole, U.S. Air Force (Ret.); father, Senior Chief Kurtis Bartelt, U.S. Navy; and brother, Sergeant Derek Bartelt, U.S. Air Force. He has been deployed to Iraq twice.
U.S. Marine Corps
Hospital Corpsman Third Class (FMF) Peter A. Gould, U.S. Navy, servicing the Marine Corps, and of Syracuse, Kan., was presented with the Silver Star on March 4, 2011, the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy. He attended the 5th Annual Angels of the Battlefield gala on behalf of his fellow U.S. Navy corpsmen servicing the U.S. Marine Corps. During a local security patrol, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Gould’s squad was engaged from three different directions by an enemy force estimated at between 35 to 40 Taliban fighters. One of the Marines from the patrol was shot in the leg, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Gould repeatedly exposed himself to accurate, medium machine gun and small arms fire to retrieve the wounded Marine and apply medical aid. By his bold leadership, wise judgment and complete dedication to duty, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Gould upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Hospital Corpsman Third Class Shabir Nawabi, of Los Angeles, Calif., accepted an award on behalf of all U.S. Navy corpsmen. After moving to the United States as a refugee from Afghanistan, he said that he joined the U.S. Navy to “give back to the country that has adopted him as a son.” Over his four years of enlistment, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Nawabi has served on the USS Santa Fe and was deployed for six months to Kandahar Afghanistan.
U.S. Air Force
Staff Sergeant Abraham Jara, of North Hollywood, Calif., accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield Gala on behalf of the medics of the U.S. Air Force. He is the first in his family to serve in the military and was inspired to join the Air Force after an Airman left a strong impression at a his second-grade “career day.” He was deployed to Panshir, Afghanistan, from June 2009 through March 2010. Staff Sergeant Jara received the Air Force Combat Action Medal after he secured the safety of the individuals in his vehicle, after encountering a small arms ambush while on a convoy. He said that one of the most rewarding aspects of being a medic is experiencing the gratefulness of the individuals or the family members of someone he saved.
U.S. Coast Guard
Health Service Technician Second Class Kevin Bishop, of Flomaton, Ala., accepted an award on behalf of his fellow U.S. Coast Guard medics. He was twice selected to support a U.S. Coast Guard mission in a hostile area of Iraq. He is assigned to the Special Mission’s Training Center, located on Camp LeJeune, N.C. Health Services Technician Second Class Bishop has used his law enforcement background, military experience and exceptional medical knowledge to identify and resolve unusual problems while deployed. He exhibited superb medical training skills by instructing 10 Iraqi students in basic medical skills, a difficult task complicated by language barriers. On another occasion, Health Services Technician Second Class Bishop led a SMTC color guard to represent the U.S. Coast Guard at a Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedication ceremony.
U.S. Navy Reserve
Hospital Corpsman First Class (FMF) John Morrison, of Fleming Island, Fla., accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield gala on behalf of his fellow U.S. Navy Reserve corpsmen. He has served two seven-month tours in Iraq and is the recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, after his mission in Ramidi, Iraq. Hospital Corpsman First Class Morrison used his hospital background experience and exceptional medical knowledge to provide treatment after a mass casualty incident. He had just returned from time off after his tour in Iraq, but he said he assisted at the surgical site because lives were at stake. Morrison was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and spent his childhood in Satellite Beach Florida. Hospital Corpsman First Class has gained the nickname “Doc” from his fellow marines because of their trust.
U.S. Air Force Reserve
Command Technical Sergeant Christina Wiskowski, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., accepted an award on behalf of all the U.S. Air Force Reserve medics. She was studying pre-med in college before deciding to enlist and has since been deployed three times. She has received the Aerial Achievement Medal and twice was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal, after her exemplary performance in two of her deployments. While deployed at Bagram AF, she flew in nine combat missions and safely transported 65 patients. During another mission in Afghanistan, Command Technical Sergeant Wiskowski and her unit, despite being physically and emotionally exhausted, safely evacuated patients from a fire and managed to replace equipment and continue on to their original destination.
U.S. Army National Guard
Sergeant Antoine A. King, of Elkton, Md., accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield gala on behalf of all U.S. Army National Guard medics. He has served more than 14 years in the military, including three deployments. After a mass casualty on January 1, 2006, Sergeant King was one of the first medics to treat more than 25 casualties. He joined the Army National Guard because he wanted to save lives. His service has inspired his son, Stephen A. King, a Navy Corpsmen at Camp Pendleton, Calif., to enlist.
U.S. Air National Guard
Senior Airman Candice Cook, of Pittsburg, Pa., accepted an award at the Angels of the Battlefield Gala on behalf of all U.S. Air National Guard medics. She joined the U.S. Air National Guard three years ago and continues her family’s military tradition after her father and grandfather. Senior Airman Cook said that the military has offered her many educational opportunities, and she has gained valuable experience working in the medical field. Senior Airman Cook received the Army Commendation Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal for her tour in 2010, during which time she organized the equipment and coordinated the movements of each convoy.