On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Armed Services YMCA hosted its 12th annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala, honoring courageous military medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen. Nearly 500 leaders from entertainment, government, military and private sector attended the gala, including the evening’s keynote speaker, United States Air Force General Paul Selva. General Selva is the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s second highest ranking military officer.
“Tonight we get to honor a group of individuals … our corpsmen, our medical technicians, our medics, our combat medics and our pararescuemen,” said General Selva. “Men and women who hone their skill to be ready at the worst possible time. Not to react but to act. To act willfully, willingly, with skill and training that has changed the face of the modern battlefield.”
General Selva joined other active and retired general officers, undersecretaries, members of the senior executive service and senior enlisted leaders at the Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala. The annual ASYMCA event recognizes five military members selected by their branch of service to receive the Angel of the Battlefield Award.
The 2018 Angels of the Battlefield include:
- Sergeant First Class Darius Smith (Army), whose heroic actions during combat operations in Iraq saved the life of his fellow solider and contributed to the success of the command's mission.
- Hospital Corpsman First Class Aaron Joseph Herman (Marine Corps), who demonstrated exemplary medical abilities and competent demeanor while saving lives during a mass casualty situation.
- Chief Jaclyn Place (Navy), whose prompt response, composed leadership and emergency care saved her neighbors lives during a violent knife attack.
- Airman First Class Linda Wilson (Air Force), who attended the Las Vegas concert during the deadliest shooting incident in modern American history. As gunfire began, Airman Wilson acted immediately to preserve the safety of herself and others, providing life-saving trauma intervention to multiple gunshot victims.
- Aviation Survival Technician Third Class Richard C. Hoefle (Coast Guard), was responsible for saving the life of a critically injured mariner while serving as the duty rescue swimmer onboard a Coast Guard helicopter.
“We’re honored to recognize our nation’s heroes who are often the reason why so many of our nation’s heroes wounded in battle have made it home to their families,” said William French, Armed Services YMCA President & CEO. “The Armed Services YMCA is proud to raise awareness of the importance of strengthening our military family.”
Country music star and Army veteran Craig Morgan, provided the evening’s entertainment. Two Medal of Honor recipients, both former military medics: Colonel Donald “Doc” Ballard and Specialist 5 James McCloughan offered special remarks to the honorees. Celebrity chef and fitness inspiration Robert Irvine received the 2018, Angel of Honor award for his many years of support to the military.
“I look forward to continuing my partnership with the ASYMCA to ensure the highest well-being and care of our military and their families,” said Irvine.