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Sgt. Chad Mahutga Medic's Actions Save Lives

By Sgt. Jason Mikeworth 207th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment BALAD, Iraq, Jan. 3, 2006 - It started as a normal August day. Soldiers of Task Force 1/128th comprised of K Troop, 3 rd Squadron, 278th Armored Calvary Regiment and 1st Battalion, 128 th Infantry Regiment, were returning to Forward Operating Base O'Ryan after a successful mission to escort an engineer unit. They were just minutes away from an improvised explosive device changing their lives forever. [caption id="attachment_3581" align="alignleft" width="154"]fodmahutgapr200600107 Ten years of experience as a combat medic were put to use as U.S. Army Sgt. Chad Mahutga worked to treat shrapnel wounds, head injuries and keep one soldier's airway open after an improvised explosive device detonated under a Humvee near Balad, Iraq, last August. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jason Mikeworth[/caption] The IED, made from two anti-tank mines, detonated beneath the lead vehicle of the patrol, tossing the Humvee into the air and causing it to land on its roof. The smoke and dust obscured the vehicle from the view of the rest of the patrol. "The first thing I did was give a contact report," said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Weaver, a platoon sergeant with K Troop. "Then I radioed to the vehicle to see if they had rolled through it."The IED, made from two anti-tank mines, detonated beneath the lead vehicle of the patrol, tossing the Humvee into the air and causing it to land on its roof. The smoke and dust obscured the vehicle from the view of the rest of the patrol. There was no answer. Sgt. Chad Mahutga, a medic with 3rd Platoon, got to the scene as quickly as he could. "It was like time stood still," Mahutga said. "As soon as my feet hit the ground, it was like operating on instinct." Mahutga went to work organizing a casualty collection point with the help of Combat Life Savers from the engineers and from K Troop. McCullouch ordered another vehicle closer to the scene to help shield the wounded from the rounds that were discharging in the fire. Ten years of experience as a combat medic were put to feverish use as Mahutga worked to treat shrapnel wounds, head injuries and to keep one soldier's airway open. "Doc Mahutga was like a machine. He was doing what he was trained to do," said McCullouch. Weaver also expressed his admiration of Mahutga's actions. "Sgt. Mahutga is a franchise player, I'm glad he's on my team," Weaver said. "None of them would have survived if he hadn't been there. He took a bad situation and made it better."
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