'Vanguard' medic answers call, saves lives
August 29, 2013
WARDAK PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Aug. 29, 2013) -- Spc. Tyler Ivester, 21, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, with Valor Device, Aug. 1, for saving the lives of four of his fellow Soldiers after their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
Ivester, a combat medic with 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and a native of Greenville, S.C., joined the Army less than three years ago, attending Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Ga., in October 2010. From there, he went to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for his Advanced Individual Training as a combat medic.
On April 17, 2013, during an operation in Wardak province, Afghanistan, the route clearance team that was ahead of Ivester's platoon, struck an improvised explosive device, severely damaging the vehicle and injuring the four Soldiers inside.
"The whole engine compartment was blown off the truck," said Ivester, assigned to 3rd Platoon, Company A, 3-15 Inf. Regt. The platoon moved forward to secure the area to assist however they could.
"They (route clearing element) had two medics, but they were just kind of standing there shell-shocked," said Ivester.
Ivester and Pfc. Matthew Evans, an infantryman and the platoon's radio operator assigned to Company A., opened one of the wrecked vehicle's doors.
"We moved a fuel tank that was pouring JP-8 (diesel fuel) all over the truck," said Evans. "We were able to pry one of the doors open."
The opening was too small for Ivester to get in wearing his armor, so he dropped it and climbed in with only his aid bag.
Ivester said it took about ten minutes for the Soldiers outside, who used sledgehammers, to open the doors enough to remove the wounded Soldiers, which gave him enough time to treat some injuries.
"We drug every one of the guys out, and got them triaged and ready for evacuation," he added.
Looking back, Ivester said he didn't have time to think about what he was doing.
"It was just ... I needed to help those guys," he recalled. "I could hear them screaming from outside the truck. All I could think was 'I just need to get in there and get them out.'"
"In my opinion, he (Ivester) is one of the smartest, most dedicated medics," said Evans, a native of Storrs, Conn.
"I didn't want an award for this," Ivester said. "I was just doing my job."
He said that's why he joined the Army, to help people.
"That and not being a freeloader," he explained. "I've got a good job, with benefits, and I'm not living off mom and dad."
Ivester says his future plans include getting promoted to the rank of sergeant.
"I've already got my promotable status," he said. "I'm just working on getting more points."