Hohenfels NCO saves life of local German man
June 5, 2013
HOHENFELS, Germany (June 5, 2013) -- It was just another day in the U.S. Army Infantry for Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Lodahl. The Texas native and Army veteran of fourteen years began his day like any other.
Up before the sun, Lodahl drank his coffee, conducted physical training, and headed in on a Saturday to put in a few extra hours at his unit before he spent some family time at home.
But without warning his day would take on a new and special meaning.
"A civilian flagged me down on my way home," said Lodahl.
What he would find was a local German man lying on the ground in critical condition, his leg severed below the knee after losing control of his motorcycle and colliding with a telephone pole outside of the small Bavarian village of Hatzenhof.
"I pulled over and rushed to the victim," said Lodahl.
He acted instinctively, using the first aid kit he always kept in his car in case of emergencies.
"Army training kicked in and I knew I had to help him," recalled Lodahl. A certified Combat-Lifesaver, he was able stabilize the motorcyclist until a German medical team arrived on scene.
This wasn't the first time Lodahl had been thrust into a life or death situation. A veteran of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he quickly learned that effective Army training can go a long way to ensure the survival of yourself and your comrades.
"You are trained thoroughly until you don't have to think about it, so you know how to act in an emergency," said Lodahl.
And he would know. As a Platoon Sergeant in Charlie Company, 1-4 Infantry Regiment, Lodahl primarily operates in the role of an insurgent in order to train Soldiers from the U.S. and allied nations.
"The character and courage he displayed are the qualities he shows every day in his dedication to his company," said First Sgt. Clint E. Mack, Charlie Company's first sergeant, and long-time comrade of Lodahl, since they served together in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy.
"Sergeant first class Lodahl's actions did not surprise me at all. As his commander, I have witnessed him perform brilliantly under pressure during numerous training events," remarks Capt. Jeffrey Gamble, Charlie Company's commander, "He is always decisive, quick to act, and courageous. If I was involved in a similar accident, I would want sergeant first class Lodahl to be the first responder."
"Any Soldier would have done the same thing if they had the chance to help someone from our host nation," said Lodahl. And for Lodahl, helping people is what being a Soldier is all about.