June 28, 2010

529th Soldiers aid casualties in Afghanistan

By Capt. Jeff Beck
529th CSSB

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Three Virginia National Guard Soldiers serving with the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Afghanistan have been awarded the Army Commendation Medal for their swift action to provide medical treatment


Spc. Rakeitta C. Roeback, Spc. Amber N. Todd, and Spc. Melody S. Manlutac were each awarded the Army Commendation Medal for actions taken during and March 22 attack on Kandahar.

As the sun set over Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan, Soldiers of the 529th had just finished another day of mandatory training prior to joining the rest of their headquarters element in western Afghanistan.  For three of those Soldiers the events of that night will remain burned in their memories for a long time.

Kandahar Air Base was attacked by mortars, rockets and ground forces May 22 around 8 p.m. and one rocket exploded near the transient building where 529th Soldiers were staying.  After the initial attack was over, the word came that Soldiers in the next building over were injured and needed medics. Spc. Rakeitta C. Roeback and Spc. Melody S. Manlutac grabbed their combat lifesaver bags and with the assistance of Spc. Amber N. Todd, rushed to provide medical aid to the wounded.

When they arrived on the scene they found American and British medics and a physician assistant treating the wounded. “When I walked into the building I saw blood on the floor, two civilian male causalities laying on the floor, one civilian casualty sitting upright on the right side of the wall and another one on the left,” said Manlutac.

Each assisted medical personnel with IVs, tourniquets, gauze, tape and other first aid measures.  Todd was placing an IV into one of the wounded while trying to calm another casualty by letting him know that an ambulance was on the way and that he was going to be okay.

Roeback had her own worries as she was assisting with the most critically wounded by applying a tourniquet to his injured leg.  Then having stopped the bleeding, she quickly moved over to the next casualty and started to clean and dress his wounds.

Each of these Soldiers received Combat Lifesaver Training in November 2009 during their annual training at Fort Pickett, Virginia in preparation for the upcoming deployment.

Lt. Col. Michelle Rose, commander of the 529th, recommended them for the Army Commendation Medal for their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to provide medical aid during an ongoing attack. They continued to provide aid until each casualty was moved to the base hospital. “Their dedication to duty and willingness to serve in the face of danger is indicative of what soldiers of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are trained to do,” Rose said.

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