NATICK, Massachusetts (Nov. 12, 2015) -- When Sgt. 1st Class Adam Morelli learned he had been nominated as the Army's "Angel of the Battlefield" honoree, he was surprised.
"In my mind, I was thinking, 'It is not a big deal. I was just doing my job,'" Morelli recalled.
While the detachment sergeant from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine portrays his accomplishments modestly, the Armed Services YMCA recognized him among other service men and women at the Ninth Annual Angels of the Battlefield Gala in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4 for providing life-saving medical treatment on the battlefield.
"They were basing the award off my time in Iraq, when I was deployed there," Morelli said. "We had an incident in April of 2008 where there was a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device that had detonated next to the building near our compounds. I got there and I was the only medic on-scene because there was only one medic assigned per team."
Alone, Morelli provided triage and treatment to 28 wounded Soldiers and cared for another Soldier trapped on a rooftop while under enemy fire.
"Those 29 Soldiers are alive today because of the efforts of then Staff Sergeant Adam Morelli," said U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, who presented Morelli with the honor.
Each year, the Angels of the Battlefield Gala honors medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen who administer lifesaving medical treatment and trauma care on the battlefield. The honorees are compassionate men and women who have risked their lives to protect other Soldiers. These Angels of the Battlefield are the reason why many Soldiers wounded in battle have made it home to their families and communities. To date, ASYMCA has honored over 450 medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen for their service.
"This recognition is truly an honor to receive on behalf of all Army medics," Morelli said. "We have medics saving lives every day. The ASYMCA is an outstanding organization that supports Soldiers worldwide. For them to take the time to recognize medics is very humbling."
Not only has the Angel of the Battlefield recognition been humbling for Morelli, but it has also helped drive home the essential mission of USARIEM and Army Medicine: to help Soldiers, whether that is through research or action.
"For Army Medicine as a whole, as is in USARIEM, our job is to save lives on the battlefield," Morelli said. "Whether that is through prevention or treatment, our research at USARIEM helps Soldiers every day.
"I think that medics share the Army Values of selfless service and personal courage and hold those values very close. These are the tenets as to why we act in the way we do. We join the Army to help people and serve our country. The ASYMCA operates within those same values, as well. We are here to take care of Soldiers."