Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for March 15, 2010 - Sgt. Bryan Rippee

Sergeant Bryan Rippee

Current Unit: 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Current Position: Combat Medic
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Savannah, Ga.
Hometown: Riverside, Calif.
Years of Service: 4

In the fall of 2009, while serving with the 1st Ranger Battalion in Afghanistan, a team of Army Rangers were critically wounded when they encountered an improvised explosive device while conducting a nighttime operation. Sgt. Bryan Rippee, who witnessed the event from about 40 meters away, ran into the unsecure blast area without regard for his own safety, and began treating and conducting triage.

“My first reaction was to run like hell towards the explosion and the Rangers; I knew there would be a lot of casualties,” said Rippee. “I bolted down the road through the smoke and dust and came upon a wounded Ranger and began assessing and treating him. We are trained to treat wounded Rangers by the severity of the wounds, not by how bad the wounds look.”

In that encounter, Rippee was credited with saving the lives of two of the six wounded. It was for this type of repeated selfless service and courage that Rippee was named the 2009 U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Medic of the Year. The award is presented annually to a medical Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) who has exhibited exemplary performance, both during deployments and stateside operations. Rippee was nominated by his supervisors and chain of command for the award along with 17 other Soldiers within USASOC.

During another incident while he was deployed last year, Rippee provided life-saving medical care to another Soldier who was critically wounded when two helicopters in route to a target compound collided mid-air. The mission, which was originally an assault mission, quickly became a combat search and rescue as the remainder of the force quickly landed near the crash site.

After his helicopter landed, Rippee immediately ran to the burning wreckage, hearing the screams of the injured trapped in the flaming aircraft. Rippee and a Ranger squad leader pulled one of the survivors from the burning airframe, carrying him 40 meters away from the flames and administering medical aid that saved the Soldier’s life.

Rippee has served in the Army for four years, and during that time, he has successfully completed Ranger School as well as the Army’s Combat Medic Course and the Special Operations Combat Medic Course.

“I joined the Army to get something for myself, and shortly afterwards, became committed to becoming a Ranger. I am proud to associate myself with the Ranger Regiment and Special Operations,” he said.

The NCO also recognizes the dual nature of his role as a platoon medic.

“As a medic, I am in a position to benefit the force and strive to be able to help in combat both as a medic and a Soldier,” he said.

Rippee has deployed a total three times, including twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Originally from Riverside, Calif., Rippee is a graduate of Ramona High School. He currently is assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield, and he resides in the greater Savannah area.

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