FORT BENNING, GA – “I wasn’t thinking. I protect my family. That was the way I was trained.”
When you hear screams for help, what do you do? Do you run toward danger? Or do you flee to safety? Without hesitating, Capt. Christopher Long jumped into the fight … a fight to save the life of someone he didn’t even know.
Violence erupted during a welcome-home-from-deployment celebration on Fort Bliss on the night of April 6, 2019. That’s when Sgt. L. Colbert disguised himself, laid in wait and brutally attacked his wife, Sgt. Amy Colbert.
“He pulled out a big 13 inch hunting blade hidden in his pants,” recalled Long. “He went for his wife. I got there as fast as I could, ripped him off her and took him to the ground. I just held him, subdued him until the MPs [military police] got there.”
The Air Defense Artillery Battalion S1 relied on his Ranger School and Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) training to quickly assess the victim’s injuries. Long then ensured the William Beaumont Army Medical Center ER knew the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds.
According to medical expert statements, if it were not for Long’s instinctive actions, Sgt. Amy Colbert would have likely bled out and died at the scene. Unfortunately, even Long’s split second reaction and combat lifesaver training weren’t enough to save her life.
“I didn’t know he had a knife. Had I known he had it, she would be alive. It’s tough because I wish I would have been fast enough to save Sgt. [Amy] Colbert, but I wasn’t. Now her kids are without a parent. I deal with that all the time. I wish I had been a little bit faster.”
The California native’s bravery and heroism didn’t stop there. Long took the stand a year later and testified in the Court-Martial of Sgt. L. Colbert.
“It was rough testifying at the trial because they [defense] called my character into question to [discredit] me as a witness as best they could,” said Long. “The judge ended up stopping that and telling them I wasn’t the focus.”
Partly due to Long’s testimony, the Court Martial panel found Sgt. L. Colbert guilty and sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole.
“I’m glad he’s locked up the rest of his life,” said Long. “It’s a reminder to make sure I do the right thing for people around me.”
In recognition of Long’s selfless service and bravery, Commanding General of the U.S. Maneuver Center of Excellence Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe today awarded Long the Soldier’s Medal. The Soldier’s Medal is the highest honor a Soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation. It is equivalent to the Distinguished Flying Cross had the act of heroism occurred during battle.
Long is stationed at Fort Benning’s Soldier Recovery Unit because of a motorcycle accident last April and is planning to retire soon.