Hero, man of steel, guardian angel are just some of the terms that come to mind when young warriors step up and take on the scumbags head on. These guys just do it with style and make holidays something to be thankful for!

ANAH, Iraq (Dec. 14, 2006) – Lance Cpl. Thomas Garlock wouldn’t say that he is “better” than any other infantryman in his battalion – at least, not without joking about it.

He doesn’t walk with a swagger and he seems almost embarrassed to answer questions about himself.

But just three months into 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion’s Iraq deployment, Garlock, a 19-year-old from Springville, N.Y., has earned the respect of Marines throughout the battalion.

Twice now, Garlock has come to the aid of Marines in his patrol when they were wounded-in-action, helping assist the battalion’s Navy corpsmen to save lives.

He isn’t alone though. About two thirds of Marines throughout 2nd LAR are now certified Combat Lifesavers, and are now trained to act as an “extra set of hands” for corpsmen, according to Navy Lt. Andrew Bailey, the battalion’s medical officer.

The Marines underwent the week-long class for certification back in Camp Lejeune, N.C., where the battalion is stationed. In seven days, they learned what Navy corpsmen call “combat style” first aid –treating gunshot wounds and burns and applying tourniquets, Garlock said.

The course helps Marines empower themselves to help rather than just be bystanders in the event immediate medical care is needed, said Bailey, a 30-year-old from Denver, Colo. The course also helps keep the corpsmen fresh in basic combat life-saving skills, which, in turn, helps them maintain their proficiency by having to thoroughly explain techniques to Marines, Bailey added.

“We learn how to patch someone up if it’s a basic wound, or how to stabilize them until a corpsman gets there,” said Garlock.

In Iraq’s Anbar Province, where U.S. and Iraqi forces face small-arms fire and improvised explosive attacks daily, the combat lifesaving skills can come in handy.

An improvised explosive device wounded three Marines, including the patrol leader and assistant patrol leader, during a patrol Garlock was on. 

After recovering from the momentary shock, Garlock, like many other Marines that have dealt with similar situations, sprung into action. With the aid of Navy Hospitalman Nicholas Sortino, Garlock assessed the injured Marines and prioritized the injuries. 

As Sortino assessed the most seriously injured Marine, Garlock came to the aid of two others.

As they worked on their patients, the two shouted to each other, giving updates on their patient’s condition and treatment.

By communicating and utilizing skills from the combat lifesaver course, the two were able to quickly identify the more serious – and life-threatening – of the three wounded Marines.

“Garlock’s our ‘Lance Corpsman,’” said Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Deguzman, senior corpsman for Company A, in a half-joking referral to Garlock’s rank of lance corporal.

During a separate patrol, Garlock found himself in the same situation:  an IED attack wounded Marines on patrol. This time, though, there was no Navy corpsman to assist Garlock. It was up to him and several other Marines to treat the wounded. 

“That first time was pretty hectic,” Garlock said. “The second time was easier because the squad knew what we had to do.”

“He jokes with me that he doesn’t even need me, he’s got it all under control,” said Sortino.

While Marines play a vital role in helping save lives on the battlefield, the week-long class won’t give them all the knowledge or experience a good corpsman uses to treat his patients, said Bailey.

Still, the course has already proven its weight in gold – it’s helped at least one Marine save lives.

“The corpsman we have on the streets are our best asset,” said Bailey. “They’re saving lives on a daily basis. I can take treatment further, but it’s their assessment and what they do that keeps the injured Marines alive.”

Story, photos by Lance Cpl. Nathaniel Sapp

Combat Correspondent

2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion


  1. Marines,
    You Marines are sure something. I have a lot of respect for you all.
    A draft would unfortunately have many disadvantages, not the least of which would be that the quality of the military would probably be flushed, or at the very least, be much more difficult to maintain, and the crazy leftists would probably riot in the streets. Still I think every young man should do something, even though it’s obvious that not every young man is cut out to be a soldier or Marine. But most young guys need the structure and discipline of some sort of service. I know I did.
    There’s got to be a way through this. Somehow. But very few lawyers/’judges’ and politicians (our ‘leaders’) have any desire themselves to serve. It’s a sad state of affairs.
    Well, in any case, thanks for your service and sacrifice.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
    Andy Eppink

  2. These guys are the best & so young! I can hardly wait to hear the next chapter in their lives, I’m sure it will be great.

  3. These guys are my ‘adopted’ Marines, Company A and D. I read things like this, then see pictures of them building a gingerbread house! They are all such heroes to my family, and so so young. Our country is so lucky to have men such as this.

  4. Dear Major Pain,
    I am an ex Aussie “GRUNT”. I am proud of my country and our best friend America. I have served with US Forces and I have never met a better bunch of blokes anywhere.
    We certainly know how to hit the piss together after a shit fight. Anyway I stumbled accoss your website and I was very impressed by it. I share the same view. We need to speak out. NOW………I am sick and tired of these left wing bastards destroying the sacrifices made so far. To me this is paramount to treason. We have them here to in Australia. Unless we stick together and fight it out until victory we are all in trouble and our kids will suffer in the future. What part of WW3 don’t people understand. Shit some people are dumb.
    Anyway I have written two hard rocking songs dedicated to the Allied Soldiers in the Middle East and their ensuring victory. I want to help boost the spirits and morale of my American, Australian and British mates who made a sacrifice for freedom and liberty. We must also never forget sacrifces made by men before us. That is what this war is about.
    1. Confidential Information
    2. Pre-Emptive Strike
    I am offering these two songs for free download until 26th December 2006. I am sure the troops in the AO HELLFIRE would love them. Have a listen yourself. All my “Digger” mates think they are shit hot.
    HOT METAL PSYOPS. We are gonna win this war.
    Cheers and All the best

  5. Thank you major P.Let us not forget our NAVY CORPSMEN.Marines with wings and halos, they were our angels.They had more balls than some marines i had in my squad. A lot of medals awarded to those men. Guess you had to be there .I Remember a corpsman coming over to me and taking my first aid kit after i got hit in the knee, i said thanks doc, he said this isnt for you this is for someone worse off than you and he dissapeared like a ghost in the night.You see he ran out of his own supplies and was taking what he could from anyone he could. He knew who needed treatment and who could wait,GOD BLESS THE CORPSMAN

  6. I am Lcp Garlocks aunt and no one is PROUDER of this young man than his family. You go Tom and keep your head down!!!!!! This young man has always been destin to do great things and I’m sure he will continue to do his family,country and the US Marine Corp proud. You go kiddo. Love You

  7. to my son and the many others that work together to keep us safe . i am proud of you and say thank-you.
    LCPL Garlock’s mom
    Deneen Garlock

  8. To my brother and his fellow marines: I just want to say how proud and thankful I am for the sacrifices you are making to keep us safe
    LCPL Garlock’s sister

  9. I have known and have been friends with Tommy Garlock’s mother since the second grade. It is no wonder to me that he is so special. I am proud to know such a loving and devoted family. They are an inspiration to all! I have shared this story with my children to ensure they are aware of the brave men and women who are protecting them everyday. Tom, we are very proud of your courage and dedication to your country. Be safe! With love and admiration, Kathy

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