Almost every day, men and women in uniform go above and beyond their call of duty to provide aid, comfort or support to people of this country. But it seemed like fate brought members of the “Warhorse” Battalion together to respond to a vehicle accident outside of Fort Hood on Sunday.
Kim Black, along with her husband Lt. Col. Kevin Black, the commander of 3rd Battalion “Warhorse,” 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, witnessed the accident. It wasn’t until they had exited their vehicle and ran to assist that they discovered Staff Sgt. Joseph Clinkenbeard and Spc. Nicholas Vanosdel, also from the battalion were already on the scene.
“We were driving along and heard a loud crash and my husband told me to turn around, there’s been an accident,” said Kim Black, a pediatric nurse. “My first thought while we were driving up was it was going to be bad.”
With no thought of their own personal safety, each person that rushed to the scene of the accident all had the same mindset — to help the individuals inside the vehicle.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Clinkenbeard, a team chief and mechanic. “My first initial thought was ‘hey we need to get these people out.’ It has nothing to do with being in the military, it simply was the right thing to do.”
It seemed that fate had truly intervened when the accident took place. All individuals that responded to the scene had experience with either responding to trauma or simply knowing how to respond in a vehicle accident situation. None of the responders realized who was there with them until they arrived at the scene and recognized each other.
“It’s quite amazing to watch right outside of Fort Hood here, three or four cars pulled over and rushing to the scene.” Kevin Black said. “It just so happens that as we were running to the scene we hear our names being called out from Spc. Vanosdel — ‘Hey, Mrs. Black’ — and in that one matter of time three individuals from the same battalion right there.”
“It was pretty cool that all of us are from the same unit,” Clinkenbeard said. “When we recognized each other, I knew that we had each other’s backs and that everything would be ok.”
Vanosdel, an infantryman in Warhorse and also a veteran firefighter, knew that fast thinking and a calm mind was the only way to proceed.
“I have gone through fairly extensive training dealing with cars in accidents being a firefighter before the military,” Vanosdel said. “So I had a pretty good concept on what to do. First things first, get over there and make sure everyone is alright.”
Clinkenbeard was able to get to the vehicle first and took notice of a child and an elderly woman and proceeded to break a window with a rock to quickly get them out of the vehicle. After removing the child from the vehicle, Kim Black began looking over the child to ensure no serious injuries were present. Vanosdel and Clinkenbeard worked together to get the woman out and helped her stay calm until emergency medical personnel arrived.
Monday, the three individuals were recognized for the quick thinking and support until medical personnel arrived.
“Men and women of character intervene when they see something wrong,” said Col. Kevin Capra, “Greywolf” brigade commander. “The good order and discipline of this organization starts with the culture that you all have created of an incredibly high-performing organization. These three people are emblematic of what this organization stands for. It’s everyday heroes that reside in this formation. It is the men and women of character who intervene and act.”
The young girl and woman were taken to the nearest medical facility, with no life-threatening injuries.
“(Their response) shows the character of the personnel that make up this Army, this brigade and this battalion,” Kevin Black said. “It shows that they have character, and you can’t train character — it’s what is inside of you.”