Rapid Response Earns Rigger Student an Impact Award
February 13, 2008
Fort Lee, Va. - Most advanced individual training Soldiers endure the rigors of training in relative obscurity - even under the watchful eyes of platoon sergeants, company and battalion commanders. But one Company C Soldier at Fort Lee, Va., caught the attention of command sergeants major, colonels and even a brigadier general.
On Feb. 2, Pvt. Dale Henny, of Harrisburg, Pa., received an Impact Award for performing medical aid to an injured officer during a parachute jump Jan. 31.
"This was my first jump ever here at Fort Lee," said Henny. "We all felt confident jumping with our chutes because the instructors made sure we carried out every detail of packing the chutes properly."
It was a bitter, cold morning at the Blackstone drop zone, Henny recalled, and the windy weather delayed the jump. Henny was on the second pass over the drop zone before accomplishing what all parachute rigger students proudly remember as the day they jump with the parachute they packed.
But what happened next was not part of the training schedule.
"After I landed and recovered my equipment, I noticed a jumper coming down hard and fast," said Henny. "I was yelling for him to pull the slip - an action you take in the direction of the wind to slow down. He hit the ground hard and went unconscious."
The jumper's canopy was still open and he was being dragged as Henny chased him down.
"My immediate reaction was that he needed help fast," said Henny.
He immediately performed medical aid to Capt. Gary Fields, to include maintaining C-spinal position in case of cervical injury, opening the airway to facilitate breathing, and applying pressure on the wound.
"There were NCOs in the area to help, and they were talking me through the whole thing as I assisted the medic," said Henny. "I'm not a certified medic, but I've received medical training, so I knew what I was doing."
Fields, enrolled in the Aerial Delivery Materiel Officer Course, was treated at a nearby medical facility for a head injury, according to the operations division at the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department.
Henny was congratulated by fellow Co. C, 262nd QM Battalion, 23rd QM Bde. Soldiers, rigger instructors and senior leaders following the award presentation. But it was back to the business at hand afterward, as his unit was engaged in the Logistics Warrior portion of their AIT training.
"I was pretty surprised by this," said Henny, after the ceremony. "I did not know that a general would be here, and our colonel would be congratulating me. It's out of the norm, I would say."
Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, Quartermaster Center and School commanding general, presented Henny with the Impact Award, which recognizes safety-related actions above and beyond what is required of an individual or organization.
"An incident such as this is rare, but when it does happen you need to take appropriate and immediate action to save a person's life," said Cross. "And in this case, Pvt. Henny did just that, and we are proud to award him for it."
As a student first sergeant, Henny said receiving the award shows other AIT Soldiers that responding to any situation at a moment's notice with the training they've received can impact the lives of others.
Spc. Ryan Magnino, student command sergeant major, was not surprised upon hearing the news of his colleague's heroics.
"I knew the minute I gave him the student first sergeant patch, that he was definitely going to do some good things for Charlie Company," said Magnino.