Skip to comments.Heroics earn Corpsman Bronze Star
Posted on 04/12/2006 5:43:50 PM PDT by SandRat
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (April 12, 2006) -- The morning of Oct. 4, 2005 had a different feel than other mornings Company L had experienced in Iraq, said 2nd Lt. Matt J. Hendricks, Weapons Platoon commander.
Sensing the anxiety in the air, he approached Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathaniel R. Leoncio, serving as platoon corpsman, 4th Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 2nd Marine Division.
That morning, right before we pushed off, I approached Leoncio and said, Youre the angel on my shoulder. He said, Yeah, youre mine too, sir, said Hendricks.
Those statements were foreshadowing of events to come, which ultimately earned Leoncio a Bronze Star Medal Friday during a ceremony at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.
The mission that morning was to patrol dirt roads in unincorporated areas of southern Ar Ramadi in search of weapons and insurgent activity as part of Operation Bowie.
Their convoy was hit by multiple improvised explosive devices, the first of which disabled Leoncios vehicle, killing the driver and severely injuring three others including him.
First Lt. Bradley R. Watson, executive officer for Company L, pulled Leoncio from the wreckage while Leoncio instructed him how to apply a tourniquet to his severely injured right leg.
The 24-year old from Temecula, also sustained a shattered femur and severe internal bleeding from the blast.
To have the medical awareness to know how to treat his wound for corpsmen 12 trucks, six trucks, three trucks back (from the explosion), thats outstanding. To be in the vehicle thats hit, thats amazing, said Capt. Rory B. Quinn, commander of company L. Doc Leoncio is an inspiration to Lima Company.
After helping Marines treat his own wounds, Leoncio turned his attention to Hendricks, his platoon commander, who was bleeding profusely.
He winced as he rolled onto his injured right leg to reach for the field dressing in his left cargo pocket, but he successfully stopped the bleeding, according Quinn.
Leoncios right leg had to be amputated, and he went through the initial stages of his recovery at the National Naval Medical Center, also known as Bethesda Naval Hospital, in Bethesda, Md.
It was amazing to see him, said Lindsay S. Chavez, his sister. He doesnt let anyone feel sorry for him, and he tries to make everyone comfortable.
He hasnt ever looked back on what happened and regretted it, she added.
Hes always been a get-down-to-business kind of guy, said Seaman Chris C. Webster, a hospital corpsman with 1st Marine Logistics Group. It paid off out there.
All evil needs to succeed is for people to stand by and do nothing, said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, Commanding General for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, before pinning Leoncios Bronze Star Medal. I think everyone will agree with me, as were here with this warrior, that evil is going to have a tough time.
As Leoncio looks towards his future, the outlook is bright. Im going to go back and finish school, he said. Ill probably do something with medicine.
HMC Awarded Bronze Star for Heroics.
Tell Murtha he can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
Great and inspiring story.
Tears well up in my eyes reading this. I had a Navy corpsman save my right hand after an accident and one took care of me through the night after a serious head wound. They are the best.