By Susanne KapplerJuly 28, 2011
Sgt. Robert Babcock
Company B, 4th Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment
Military occupational specialty
68W, health care specialist
Working on his car, computers, building model aircraft
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- On his way home from a family outing July 3 with his wife and two sons, Sgt. Robert Babcock came across an unexpected scene in a suburban neighborhood.
“I came around a corner, saw two cars in the road and I thought I’d seen somebody’s arm sticking out to the side,” he said. “I said, ‘I have to stop.’”
Babcock, who works as a medic at Fort Jackson’s high-risk ranges, found out that a motorcycle and car had collided and that the motorcycle rider was hurt.
“She was bleeding profusely from the mouth and nose. ... I jumped out, grabbed my little (first aid) bag, went over there, tried to identify myself to her ... and was just trying to do my rapid trauma assessment on her. She messed up her mouth pretty badly,” Babcock said.
Babcock, who said he always carries a first aid kit in the car, was able to stabilize the woman until emergency responders arrived.
“I put a (cervical) collar on her, because I had one of those in my trunk, and then was trying to open her airway, get the blood out of the way so she wouldn’t aspirate it,” he said.
During his three deployments as a combat medic to Iraq, Babcock said he has seen his share of trauma patients, and helping a person in a situation like that is second nature to him.
“If I see somebody who’s hurt, no matter what, I’m going to stop and help "whether it’s on the side of the road here, in Iraq, whatever,” he said.
Babcock, 39, originally enlisted in the Army in 1992, but left only four years later because of the Army’s drawdown at the time. He went to college to become a nurse, but quickly found out that nursing was not a good fit for him.
“I really didn’t want to be a nurse. It was not for me,” he said. “I was much more focused on emergency medicine.”
He decided to re-enter the Army in 2000 and served as a line medic until he came to Fort Jackson in 2010. He said that although his wife, Stephanie, who is a sergeant with the 369th Adjutant General Battalion, has encouraged him to get an assignment at a hospital, he prefers to be in the trenches.
“It feels like I’m doing the most for the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time,” he said.
Babcock, a self-described trauma junkie, said he is likely to continue to work as a paramedic after his Army career is over.
“If you talk to anybody in the medical field who works trauma, they look at it like a drug. Once you start liking to take care of trauma (patients), it never gets out of your system,” he said. “You get a charge out of it, because you know you’re making a really big impact on this person’s life, potentially saving (his or her) life, depending on the situation that you’re in.”
He said the Army value that best epitomizes combat medics is selfless service.
“You have to be able to put yourself in danger to help somebody else,” he said. “It’s what a line medic does.”