News: Identifying high-risk behavior can save a battle buddy’s life
Story by Claudia Kennedy
FORT BLISS, Texas - While assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment, Pfc. Jason Radley’s heroic actions demonstrated selfless service and possibly saved the life of a fellow Soldier who allegedly overmedicated on sleeping pills and alcohol. Radley’s actions earned him his first Army Achievement medal on Jan. 29.
On the evening of Jan. 18, Radley along with three other soldiers, Spc. Luis Ortiz, Pfc. Chet Flynn and Pfc. Mario Lopez, displayed personal resolve and unwavering commitment to the Soldier’s Creed.
In the barracks where Radley and his fellow Soldiers reside, they noticed a troubled soldier, who will remain anonymous, was missing. Radley and his fellow soldiers took immediate action to notify the chain of command and take control of the situation.
Two empty bottles of sleeping pills were found in the troubled soldier’s room that were filled four days ago and empty that night. “I could tell that [name omitted] had been drinking and was displaying strange behavior,” said Radley.
The barracks where the soldiers reside consists of mobilizing and demobilizing Guardsmen and Reservists and soldiers on medical or administrative hold. “In the absence of unit cohesion, anyone could have walked by and done nothing. Instead, four junior enlisted soldiers recognized there was a problem and did something,” said Maj. Daniel S. Gray, DoMaD HHC Commander.
Radley and the other soldiers demonstrated their dedication to the Army values by searching for the soldier to ensure his safety.
Radley and the search group located the soldier who was in urgent need of psychological care. Radley’s calm demeanor, professionalism and ability to think quickly were instrumental to the successful intervention, which potentially could have ended with tragic results if the soldier had further harmed himself or others.
“My take as a medic is that Pfc. Radley’s actions potentially saved the soldier’s life. He very well could have overdosed,” said Sgt. 1st Class Terrance L. Kinard, a medic assigned to DoMaD HHC on the scene.
Radley said the soldier admitted to him a few days before the incident that he was on medical hold for being suicidal and having a drinking problem. “Once someone told me that he was acting strange and had been drinking a lot, I thought ‘well this just can’t add up together.’ I felt like it was my duty to check on him,” said Radley.
Soldiers depend on battle buddies to watch each other, both on and off the battle field. In maintaining the highest level of readiness, soldiers must understand the type of situations that can have an impact on families, units, the Army, and most importantly, themselves.
“In the end, he admitted that he just wanted some help,” said Radley.
Radley and his fellow soldiers’ efforts toward identifying and intervening are great examples of soldiers utilizing the tools needed to reduce high-risk behavior and prevent problematic situations.
Readiness is a team effort and that night those soldiers worked as a team to help a fellow soldier. “Of the four soldiers, three of them are Military Policemen, validating the training they received at AIT, the training they received in their unit and during their mobilization really paid off. That was the driving force on making sure these guys got recognized for doing the right thing,” said Gray.
All the soldiers involved were awarded an Army Achievement medal; however, several were not present to receive their awards at the DoMaD ceremony because they have been released from active duty and returned to their home of record.