Soldiers made their way through the brush while on patrol near Belton Lake on a cold December morning at Fort Hood. Suddenly the team of four heard the sound of incoming indirect fire.
Someone yelled “incoming,” and the soldiers dropped to the ground. The team from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, took part in the battalion’s combat lifesaver warrior games Dec. 10.
“We are incorporating warrior tasks and combat lifesaving tasks into a lane where they can practice as a team-sized element and test themselves on these tasks, in order to prepare for combat,” said 1st Lt. Jacob Portalatin, the medical operations officer for 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment.
For one medic overseeing the games, this was more than just a training event. Spc. Isiah Stewart saw these lifesaving skills in action during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.
While on a convoy from Logar province to Kandahar province, Stewart’s patrol came under attack from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. Shortly after that, one of the vehicles stuck an improvised explosive device. The convoy took casualties during both engagements, and Stewart found himself in a situation where he had to depend on the life-saving qualified soldiers to treat the minor injuries so he could tend to the more critically injured soldiers.
“It’s important because, if I’m out of the fight or my comrades (other medics) are out of the fight, that these soldiers know exactly what to do if a medical situation pops off or if any of these guys are needed to perform these skills, we want to make sure they know it,” Stewart said.