16 November 2008

Every Day Heroes

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli presents the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sgt. Christopher B. Waiters Oct. 23 during a ceremony at Soldiers Field House.
Photo by Phil Sussman

After being struck by an IED in Baqubah, Iraq, a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle immediately caught fire with its occupants still inside. Spc. Christopher Waiters, a senior medic assigned to 5-20 Inf. attempts to climb into the burning BFV to rescue a Soldier trapped in the vehicle after he had treated and safe-guarded two other casualties back to his Stryker Medical Evacuation Vehicle. Photo by U.S. Army

Meet Staff Sgt. Christopher Waiters:
Soldier earns rare honor for heroic actions in IraqBY Don Kramer
Oct 24, 2008

FORT LEWIS, Wash. - The deep boom of an explosion shook the ground and awoke Staff Sgt. Christopher Waiters from sleep on April 5, 2007. The 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Soldier had bedded down seconds before at the end of a nine-hour guard-duty shift in Old Baqubah.

A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device had detonated on a street nearby, engulfing a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and its crew in flames,

That insurgent attack led to the events that culminated in Waiters' receiving a Distinguished Service Cross, only the 17th awarded since the war on terrorism began and the first to a Fort Lewis-based Soldier.

The DSC is the Army's second highest award given for "extraordinary heroism ... while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing or foreign force," according to the Army regulation that governs military awards, AR 600-8-22. The regulation states, "The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades."...

As Waiters dashed into the open street, an insurgent truck came at him through the smoke with its gunner firing. A U.S. .50-caliber machine gun made short work of the vehicle. Waiters dodged the wreckage and sprinted the rest of the 80 meters to the burning Bradley.

"When I got about halfway down the road, you start thinking about things," he said. "What am I doing? I'm not going to lie to you. I was scared as hell. But part of me just said keep going. I thought, 'I'm already in hell, Might as well keep going.'"...

His former XO said he was awed by Waiters actions that day, but not surprised.

"This wasn't the first time Doc Waiters put himself in harm's way to help his boys out," Price said. "He and Doc Miller went on hundreds of patrols. The guys were always glad to have Doc Waiters and Doc Miller along because they knew they'd do whatever it took to get our guys back."

Though he has only a single Purple Heart, Waiters survived a number of near misses.

"He got hit in the head once in Buhriz in the helmet, got nicked in the shoulder on patrol with us one night north of Baqubah, had a water bottle shot out from his face earlier in the deployment, and got nicked in the wrist in Old Baqubah," Price said. "This guy has been in harm's way many times before this happened. He's being modest when he says he was just doing his job. The guy is a true hero for what he did."...

You really MUST go read the rest of this amazing story here.

Medic 'a true hero' on battlefield

Oct 30, 2008
BY Don Kramer

FORT LEWIS, Wash. - A former 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division commander returned to Fort Lewis Oct. 23 to pin the nation's second-highest award for valor on the chest of one of the brigade's medics.

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli presented the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sgt. Christopher B. Waiters, only the 17th awarded since the Vietnam War. The Army medic is now stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, but returned last week to receive the award he earned on April 5, 2007, while assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment as a combat medic.

The ceremony took place at Soldiers Field House, with his entire former brigade filling the bleachers...

Chiarelli said Waiters set an example of "the very best of military values: loyalty, selfless service, personal courage. Something inside Staff Sgt. Waiters led to his pulling wounded comrades out of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle without regard for safety - the sense of duty to follow Soldiers into the crucible of combat that defines who we are."...

Waiters said he had never seen one when he heard about the recommendation in August 2007 as the unit was preparing to redeploy from Iraq.

"I had to go look up the picture of a DSC on the Internet," he said.

The award was finally approved a year later in August 2008.

"It's an honor to receive it," Waiters said. "I was doing what I was trained to do. That's what I was there for."

Amazing! Go - now - and read the rest of this here.

Thank you for your service, Staff Sgt. Waiters!

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