BAGHDAD - In between the long, daily tasks associated with patrolling the dangerous areas north of Baghdad, U.S. troops of have added another way to accomplish their mission of protecting the people of Iraq by saving lives along the Baghdad-Mosul highway.

"Our joint security station sits right on top of one of the busiest roads in all of Iraq," said Capt. Johnathan Westbrook, commander for Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "The locals call it the Baghdad-Mosul Highway."

As with all major highways, wrecks and other accidents sometimes occur. The medics at JSS Mushada, here, led by the battalion physician's assistant, Capt. Leon Richardson, from San Antonio, Texas, have provided assistance to several Iraqi's these past months."

During a promotion ceremony, Oct. 17, the Americans received a call about an Iraqi man who had severely injured his hand while repairing his generator. Within two minutes of receiving the call, Richardson and his medics were treating him in their trailer aid station.

By working quickly, the medics were able to assess and stabilize him, call in a medical helicopter, load him into a waiting vehicle and to move him to the helicopter landing zone in only twenty minutes.

Despite the busy, rush hour traffic along the Baghdad-Mosul Highway, the Soldiers cordoned off a 500 meter stretch of road and prepared a hasty landing zone for the helicopters.

Once loaded on the helicopter, the victim was evacuated to the U.S. hospital in Balad, Iraq, some 40 miles north. The Soldiers also arranged for his uninjured son accompanying him for support.

"I cannot think of a better way to welcome ourselves to the neighborhood than this" said 1st Lt. Joseph Laber, the company fire support officer from Killeen, Texas.

Since the battalion began operations in the Tarmiyah area, just north of Baghdad, on Sept. 1, 2009, the U.S. troops have treated nine Iraqis injured due to vehicle accidents. Five of them required medical evacuation by helicopter. One involved a two-year-old boy who was brought in for second degree burns sustained when his father accidently knocked over a propane tank which then exploded and burned both of them.

During the month of September, five other injured Iraqis were brought to JSS Mushada aid station by the Iraqi Police also stationed there. They were injured when their vehicle blew a tire on the Baghdad-to-Mosul highway and rolled five times before coming to a stop. The medics treated all the victims, three of which had serious injuries. Those with the most serious injuries were stabilized and evacuated to a nearby hospital; the other two were treated and released.

"This kind of an event in the U.S. would be a major trauma case for any hospital E.R., with multiple doctors and a dozen nurses. Capt. Richardson and his crew of four handled all this trauma with only basic equipment, in a small trailer," said Lt. Col. Scott Jackson, the battalion commander. "As 'Doc' Richardson told me later, he looked up at one point to see his enlisted medics totally in control and treating the other trauma patient. Amazing is the only thing I can say about our guys in cases like this.'"

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16