June 26, 2008
When a patrol of Strykers from the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team was attacked recently in Iraq, aeromedical evacuation crews from the 3rd Inf. Div.'s Combat Aviation Brigade came to the rescue.
The Black Hawk helicopters from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, flew to the site to brave enemy gunfire and carry five injured Soldiers to safety.
After circling the road the Stryker vehicles were on - which hadn't been cleared of potential improvised explosive devices - the aircraft landed in an adjacent field, said Capt. Samuel Fricks, operations officer for Co. C, who was a pilot in the second of the two medevac aircraft.
"My medic, Staff Sgt. Robert Congdon, left the aircraft and linked up with Staff Sgt. Aughe McQuown," Fricks said. The two medics went to the site of the attack and soon returned to the helicopters with three injured Soldiers.
As they returned to the Stryker for the remaining two Soldiers, they began to take fire.
"I just grabbed the patient and Mc-Quown, and we went into the Stryker," Congdon said. Bullets struck the Stryker and the ground around it as the Soldiers sought cover inside the vehicle. Once inside, Congdon reset the radio to the medevac frequency, then took off his flight helmet and put on a Stryker crewmember's helmet so he could talk to the aircraft.
When the call came over the radio that his medics were taking fire, Fricks wasn't sure what to think. He didn't know where the fire was coming from, but he figured that since the helicopters were down below the level of the road in the field he wasn't in too much danger.
"The only thing we knew was that Congdon was taking fire," Fricks said. As they waited for the two medics to come back with the remaining patients, a third medic, Sgt. Donald Dedmon, in training as a flight medic, ran back and forth between the two aircraft to treat the injured Soldiers already on board.
Dedmon was midway through his training to be certified to operate as a lone medic on a medevac when he found himself suddenly%2