News: Lifesaving actions: corpsman recognized for battlefield service
Story by Cpl. Shawn Valosin
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Sailors with 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force filed into the Betio Ballroom for an award ceremony here, April 2.
Petty Officer 1st Class Lance S. Wyatt, an El Paso, Ark., native and corpsman with the battalion, received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for triaging, treating and stabilizing 32 urgent Afghan National Army, police and civilian casualties. His personal efforts saved numerous lives and significantly preserved combat power during the summer fighting season in Sangin District, Helmand province, Afghanistan, during his 2013 deployment.
“Wyatt exemplifies those qualities of every corpsman: honor, courage and commitment - commitment to what he does in the Navy, saving lives and helping others,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Dingler, the command master chief for 2nd Dental Bn. “The award is important, but it represents everything corpsmen have gone out and done before him, and for that reason he should be looked up to.”
Wyatt’s time in Afghanistan saw Afghan National Security Forces take the lead in fighting insurgent activity. He threw himself into supporting their push to clear Sangin.
Wyatt treated two Afghan soldiers who suffered traumatic leg amputations in heavy fighting during the counteroffensive to repel the Taliban. Wyatt personally found himself in harm’s way, where his duty to save lives called him to action.
The ANA succeeded in clearing the area but sustained several casualties during the campaign. In one instance, Wyatt even braved enemy fire to provide lifesaving care during an ambush that left several civilians wounded.
“[He] dismounted and treated the casualties while advisors and Afghan police remained under enemy fire,” read Wyatt’s citation “He stabilized and facilitated evacuation of all casualties with total disregard for his own safety.”
Wyatt said when he heard the call of “Corpsman up!” his adrenaline started pumping and all the training he received prior to deploying took over. At one point he even triaged six patients by himself.
“It went by so fast,” said Wyatt. “Before I was to the patient, I was already assessing the situation and figuring out what course of action to take.”
Wyatt said that while receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal felt great, he was particularly glad his family was present to witness the event. Their support helped him continue going out day after day to save lives.
“[My wife] knows that I take being a corpsman very seriously, and she knows from my previous deployment to Iraq that if there is a fight going on, I’m going to be as near to it as possible,” said Wyatt. “I take great pride in being a corpsman and being part of that history of being on the battlefield with Marines.”
His record of service in Helmand province also earned Wyatt a meritorious promotion. While deployed, he mentored 19 medics with the Afghan National Army to self-sufficiency, expanding their military’s ability to self-sustain.