Skip to comments.Doc stops the bleeding, treats for shock, earns Bronze Star
Posted on 02/18/2006 4:58:18 PM PST by SandRat
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2006) -- Critical medical operations to save the life of a wounded comrade are extremely stressful in the rear, where there is proper medical equipment. Conducting them in the back of a humvee while it speeds through a hail of shrapnel and small arms fire, however, is a true test of ones proficiency and courage.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan McDonell faced and overcame that challenge a year ago in Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for it during a ceremony at Camp Margarita Feb. 17.
I accept this recognition on behalf of the men I fought with, it was the greatest honor of my life, said McDonell, a 28-year-old from Daytona Beach, Fla. after Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, pinned on his Bronze Star. McDonell then named those who ensured the survival of the team.
Corporal OBrien, who had the strength to hold onto life that day, Gunnery Sgt. Miller for his instincts and leadership, and both Sgt. Pennock and Cpl. Kamerer for aggressively holding off the enemy, McDonell said.
McDonell exemplified courage under fire on Nov. 8, 2004, in Ramadi, Iraq, while serving as the senior line corpsman for Company G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
During an assault in the Al Anbar capital city, McDonell identified the location of the enemy firing positions and returned fire, enabling the Marines to fatally wound three insurgents, according to his award citation. During the ensuing firefight, a rocket-propelled grenade penetrated the vehicles armor and partially severed the right arm and leg of the Marine beside him.
When I came up after the blast, I saw Cpl. (Mark) OBrien bleeding profusely through the white smoke, recalled McDonell. His wounds were bad, and my main concern was to stop the bleeding any way possible.
While still under intense fire, McDonell applied tourniquets to the wounded Marines arm and leg and supervised his loading into the evacuation vehicle.
While driving at high speeds through narrow streets to reach the nearest medical facility, he began a second, more detailed evaluation of the wound. McDonell raised the Marines mangled leg and with his bare hands, reached inside the wound and grasped the femoral artery and pulled it through the damaged tissue far enough to apply a second tourniquet.
When this failed to control the bleeding, he reached inside the Marines leg and clamped down on the femoral artery, holding it with his fingers until they arrived at the medical facility.
With so much carnage and destruction going on all around you, you have to be resourceful, McDonell said. I couldnt give him morphine due to the amount of blood he was losing. Ive never seen someone endure so much pain while maintaining his composure so well.
McDonell added that OBrien was more concerned with the fact that he could no longer fight over the immense pain he was going through.
Because of McDonells heroics and wise judgment, OBrien lived. He got married in July, and McDonell attended the ceremony.
Although OBriens life was saved, he was no longer able to serve as a Marine due to his injuries.
"Golf Company lost a great warrior the day OBrien was discharged, McDonell said. My daughter was recently watching the 2006 Olympics and called the American athletes heroes. I told her that the real heroes are the many men and women who have so bravely fought in Iraq and that I had the honor to meet them and fight alongside them.
Joe, Daytona "doc" does good Florida ping request
Thanks for the article.
SEMPER FI CORPSMAN.
Now, how many of us will read it in our local fishwrap tomorrow?
The man is a hero even if the local fish-wraps never report his heroism.