Lance Cpl. Peter Uncapher, an infantryman with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, rests in his hospital bed less than 24 hours after being struck by fragmentation from an Improvised Explosive Device. Uncapher, along with other Marines and sailors, worked diligently to save his fellow Marine's life, Lance Cpl. Ryan McSweeny, despite the injuries he sustained himself.
On the 25th of May many of us were conducting our typical life with work and play back in the States. In Helmand Province the point man on one of many patrols that had been conducted by Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine (1/3) Regiment, was struck as he initiated what was believed to be a pressure plate IED.
First of all if you have never been involved with this type of event, it is hair raising. The calm, cool leader is always identified in these situations by the one everyone looks to. It’s a psychologists dream study I’m sure but it really happens that way when a traumatic situation occurs, watch, the leader will be identified by everyone actually looking at them for commands on what to do.
A couple people that weren’t looking but acting were Lance Cpl. Peter Uncapher and his Corpsman, “Doc White.” Quick actions by Marines with triage training and their loyal Doc by their side continuously saves lives on the battlefield. As the best laid plan never survives first contact with the enemy, Murphy’s Law was in full affect as a threatening sand storm developed as the Marines called for an air medivac to extract their brothers. Despite the courage and will of the aircrew of the Company C, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment to get the wounded Marine out, the flight proved too dangerous for them to go at the time. Trust me these guys will fly into fire if they are allowed. Many times I have witnessed these guys coming in with guns blazing into hot LZs to get a Marine out and providing close air support. However, when a sandstorm hits, its thick redish dirt blinds everything and even trying to see to walk is difficult.
Quick flexible thinking led to the Operations Officer from (1/3) Maj Grace, contacting a friend of his within the centrally located 2nd Light Armoured Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, Maj Conner to organise a ground evacuation. While this was happening Combat Logistics Battalion 7 was operating in the area and responded to the explosion and assisted in the link up of 1/3 and LAR. This is a perfect example why within the Marine Corps we work so well as a combined arms team. The Marine in the air, within the logistics team or in the LAR unit has all of the same training and can easily communicate and synchronize with each other. After five hours later the ground teams linked up while at the same time the weather began to break for a shot a extracting the wounded Marine by air once again. This time they were lucky enough to get him and although he lost a lot of blood he would become stable. Both McSweeny and even Uncapher (due to injuries received during the explosion) were extracted. This again shows the expertise and dedication of the basic warriors to save one of their brothers.
I wonder if anyone knew or thought about these warriors during their Memorial Day BBQs or “golf game.” While they enjoyed the freedom and luxuries of America, on May 25th, many Marines pulled together in the worse weather conditions, in the middle of nowhere to save one of their own and not giving up. Many Marines that were involved in this event will never get the recognition from America they deserve nor will they ask for it however, the Marines that were there will know, they will be able to look at one another and know the difference they made even though the cards were stacked against them.
It’s amazing what you can do when everyone thinks you can’t; Mother Nature tries to make it impossible, and the odds are stacked against you. These are your young Americans, saving lives, fighting the enemy and making a difference, especially to their brothers. These are your Marines and future leaders of America. They are winning!
Time for a Cgar!
Original article here by By Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin, 2nd Marine Division http://www.marines.mil/unit/2ndmardiv/Pages/110527-M-FWD-Memorial-Day.aspx