OTF Soldier Story for April 4, 2011 - Capt. Andrew Fisher
Current Unit: 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Current Position: Physician Assistant
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Fort Benning, Ga.
Hometown: Bloomington, Ind.
Years of Service: 18
The care and safety of fellow Soldiers is the responsibility of all Army medics. But Capt. Andrew Fisher has taken that commitment one step farther; doing everything he can to help fellow Rangers, even at the risk of his own life.
While serving in Afghanistan last year as the physician assistant assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, one event in particular put his courage under fire to the test.
Out on a mission the night of May 31, 2010, Fisher was securing a rooftop when his unit was struck by enemy fire. Shortly after the firefight began, several Rangers were hit by enemy fire and trapped on the roof of the building. Without regard for his own safety, Fisher rushed to aid the wounded Soldiers, even though they remained under heavy enemy fire.
Fisher was hit as soon as he reached the rooftop, but his protective armor stopped the bullet from piercing too deeply. Despite his injury, he continued to provide medical care until all the wounded Soldiers were treated and evacuated from the area. Only then did he tend to his own wounds.
For his meritorious service that day, he received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, as well as the Purple Heart.
This wasn’t the first time this accomplished Soldier had been recognized. Just weeks prior to the incident, Fisher was presented with the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Annual Physician Assistant Recognition Award. He was selected from among more than 600 Army PAs and cited for providing life saving care on two separate combat deployments. His actions in Afghanistan only further validate that award.
“It means a lot that the men I work with think I am worthy of such an award,” he said. “I work with some of the most amazing men on earth. Professional, dedicated, hardworking and heroic are a few words that come to mind. It is a privilege to work among the best and brightest in the Army.”
Although he has served as a PA for only a few years, Fisher has spent nearly two decades in the Army, many of them as a Ranger. He first enlisted in 1993 as an infantryman and was assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment. He went on to serve as a medic with the Rangers and later transitioned to the Indiana National Guard and worked as a paramedic on the Indianapolis Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team.
While serving with the Indiana National Guard, several of his fellow Soldiers encouraged him to pursue the Army’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program. But it wasn’t until a friend was killed in Iraq when Fisher finally decided to enroll.
“I didn’t want to sit around and watch our country at war,” he said. “I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, and I thought being a PA was the best way to do that.”
After earning his PA certification from the University of Nebraska in 2007, he returned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, and has since completed multiple deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Even though it was a long road, Fisher sees how each step of his journey helped prepare him to become a PA.
“Being an enlisted Soldier really helped me understand the mindset of the 75th Ranger Regiment, and I knew what was going to be required of me. My work with the National Guard and SWAT kept me focused on staying disciplined and focused, and working as a paramedic helped me obtain skills that help me save lives, even today,” he said.
Fisher will deploy again later this spring with the 75th Ranger Regiment’s 1st Battalion.