BAGHDAD - I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.
All Army Soldiers are required to know the Soldier's Creed, but the Soldiers of 591st Military Police Company "Spartans," 93rd MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade not only know it, they live by it. They always place the mission first.
The Spartans, a police transition team that advises Iraqi police, received a distress call over the radio as they prepared to go home after a long day at al-Awad Police Station, June 3. A Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle had rolled over into a ravine less than three miles away. Without hesitation, the Spartans went to the aid of their fellow Soldiers.
"We knew we had to do something when we heard ... Soldiers were possibly hurt inside a MRAP that had rolled into a ravine," said Sgt. George Talkington, a Las Cruces, N.M., native, a military policeman assigned to the 591st MP Co. "We tried to get there as soon as we could."
Once they were close enough to receive a radio transmission from the unit that sent the distress call, the Spartans were informed they could only reach the vehicle by foot. Faced with only two options-swim across a canal or run a quarter miles to the vehicle- they ran.
"Our dismount team got off the vehicle and started to run toward the site in full gear," said Talkington. "We didn't try to swim because the water could have been contaminated and we could have become casualties."
The Spartans arrived at the rollover site tired and sweaty after running in full body armor and gear. They met with a platoon sergeant from B Troop, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and found Soldiers of B Troop already in action.
"After the vehicle rolled over we set up security around the vehicle, then I took some troops to assist the injured Soldiers out of the vehicle," said Vaden. "Our medic evaluated the casualties and had us put the injured on stretchers as a precautionary measure. After the area was secured and the patients had been evaluated we called for support."
The Cavalry troopers were disciplined, physically and mentally tough; trained and proficient in warrior task and drills. They had already set up security and pulled the injured from the MRAP, evaluated the casualties and sent up a report requesting a medical evacuation.
"Our training kicked in and we made decisions without hesitation; it was like second nature," said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Vaden of B Troop, 2nd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt. "No one panicked because we knew help would arrive."
When the Spartans arrived, Vaden asked them to have their vehicles pull security on the outer perimeter of the field to provide 360 degrees of security around the landing zone for the UH-60 helicopters to land, according to Talkington. The rest of the Spartans jumped into the ravine to pull security near the MRAP.
Even after a long day, tired and hungry Soldiers of B Troop and the 591st MP Company placed their mission first and used teamwork to help their fellow Soldiers who were injured during a vehicle rollover. The injured Soldiers were successfully evacuated because B Troop and the 591st MP Company adhered to the principles of the Soldier's Creed-I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat.