News: Life-saving measures earns soldier CMB
Story by Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus
CAMP NATHAN SMITH, Afghanistan— “Every day when you get up and you look at yourself in the mirror, think to yourself, ‘what can I do today to make it matter?’” Those words were said Lt. Gen. James Terry, the International Security Assistance Forces commander, shortly after presenting soldiers from 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, with coins, Combat Infantry Badges and Combat Medic Badges.
Pfc. Mitchell Suchecki, a medic with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1/1 AD, and a native of San Diego, put those words to reality before Terry ever said them to him.
Suchecki received his CMB from Terry at Camp Nathan Smith, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, April 21, for life-saving actions he performed on an Afghan soldier who was shot in the chest during an attack in February.
After ensuring his fellow soldiers were not injured and the platoon maintained fire superiority, Suchecki helped treat the through-and-through wound.
“The number one rule of being a medic is to make sure you’re safe so you can help other people,” said Suchecki.
With a potentially delayed medevac due to the ongoing firefight, Suchecki had to ensure the soldier was stabilized enough until he could be air-lifted away.
“Our number one treatment was to make sure that his lungs were okay, his airway was clear, he was able to breathe and he had circulation,” said Suchecki. “We made sure he was good to go and all medical interventions were secure and packaged.”
Because of Suchecki’s actions, the soldier survived through surgery and is recovering.
“It’s definitely humbling,” said Suchecki. “As soldiers, there is always the small thought of the possibility of death, and it’s quite amazing to actually be able to help one of our Afghan partners and save him from probably the worst day of his entire life.”
Terry spoke of opportunities for the future of Afghanistan, which has been paid for through sacrifices.
“That sacrifice comes from soldiers just like you,” said Terry. “It comes from commitment to the mission, and it comes from professionalism and how you approach our Afghan partners and how we move them into the future.”