The heroes of our heroes are the Angels of the Battlefield.
Established in 2006, the Armed Services YMCA hosts the only awards program of its kind – honoring military medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen – representing all five branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
Each year, five Angels are recognized and applauded for their selfless courage and unwavering sacrifice while saving lives on the front lines overseas or during emergency situations here at home. The ASYMCA also presents a special Angel of Honor award to an individual or organization demonstrating distinguished and extraordinary service or advancement of the mission.
We are forever grateful to our honorees and all military medical personnel—our Angels, our Heroes—who serve so bravely and save the lives of soldiers and civilians across the country and around the globe.
2020 Angels of the Battlefield Awards, Presented by USAA
Angel of Honor Regina Benson, 2nd Lieutenant, Army Nurse Corps of McLean, Va., who at 100 years old is believed to be the oldest living Army nurse. She followed her four brothers into the Army at age 24 and served in Hawaii, Okinawa and mainland Japan from 1944 to 1946. Originally from Philadelphia, Benson returned from the war and married her husband whom she met in the Army, moved to Wyckoff, N.J., had 3 children and was a civilian surgical nurse. Watch video
U.S. Army – Sergeant First Class (SFC) Kyle J. Wagner, a combat medic from Portage, Pa., and based at Fort Campbell, Ky., was 10 feet from an IED explosion. Although he was injured and unable to hear, he searched for casualties, pulled troops to safety and started triage, while organizing the medical evacuation during a mission in Afghanistan in June 2013. He uses his experience in his current role as an instructor to train other combat medics. Watch video
U.S. Marine Corps – Hospital Corpsman First Class (HM1) William A. McGrath, U.S. Navy, is from Lansing, Mich., and based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was attached to a Marine Corps team in January 2020 in East Africa where he helped repel a complex enemy attack on an American command center and airfield. A shooter and medic, he saved the life of a wounded team member, while treating multiple injured firefighters and security forces. Watch video
U.S. Navy – The name and mission details of this Navy Seal from Gaithersburg, Va., and based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., are confidential due to the sensitive nature of his current deployment. He is being honored for tending to more than 200 patients during an overseas mission from 2019 to 2020. Read Acceptance
U.S. Air Force – Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Nicholas J. Brunetto was the medic attached to an Army Green Berets team that was ambushed at close range in February 2020. The pararescueman from Ewing, N.J., and based at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., braved enemy gunfire to grab his medical gear so he could perform a blood transfusion to save a soldier’s life, and managed the evacuation of nearly a dozen patients while under attack. Watch video
U.S. Coast Guard – Aviation Survival Technician Second Class (AST2) James A. Chandler, a Walnut Creek, Calif., resident based at Air Station Houston, saved a woman’s life during Tropical Storm Imelda in 2019 after performing CPR for over 30 minutes. Originally from England, he moved to America to pursue pro football, but a documentary inspired him to become a U.S. citizen and rescue swimmer. Watch video
Thank you to our generous sponsors and supporters:
5 Star: USAA and American Airlines
3 Star: Geico
2 Star: Health Net, PenFed
1 Star: Leonardo DRS, Northrop Grumman, YMCA Retirement Fund
Awardee Champions: 3M, Bell, General Dynamics Mission Systems
Mission Champions: Humana Military, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Marsh & McLennan Agency, Sodexo Inc., Veterans United Home Loans
Patrons: Association of Military Banks of America, Admiral John & Nonie Bird, Design Data, KRBR Consulting, Leidos Inc., Pitney Bowes, The Roosevelt Group
2019 Angels of the Battlefield Awards, Presented by USAA
The 13th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala was attended by 350 government, military and private sector leaders to celebrate our heroes. Keynote Speaker Adm. Charles W. Ray, Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard said, "Few are more appreciated by commanders than those who provide medical care. They are ones that when you need them, time is of the essence. And they are the ones that bring support."
Angel of Honor Awards were presented to: Bonnie Carroll, Founder and President, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and Mary Keller, CEO, Military Child Education Coalition.