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    Soldiers of the 54th Engineer Battalion Receive Combat Awards

    Soldiers of the 54th Engineer Battalion Receive Combat Awards

    Photo By Capt. Stephanie Pegher | Sgt. Arthur Koinis, 370th Engineer Company, 54th Engineer Battalion is commended by...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Stephanie Pegher 

    555th Engineer Brigade

    By Capt. Stephanie M. Pegher
    555th Engineer Brigade

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Soldiers of the 370th Engineer Company and Forward Support Company of the 54th Engineer Battalion were presented the Combat Action Badge and the Combat Medic Badge for their actions upon contact to an indirect fire incident on Aug. 19. Three additional Soldiers from 4th Platoon, 370th Engineer Company were also awarded the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with Valor device and Army Commendation Medal for events that transpired during that attack.

    At around 5 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 19, seven 107mm rockets were fired and landed inside the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Garryowen in the vicinity of al-Amarah, Iraq. 54th Engineer Battalion had two platoons on the FOB that morning conducting two separate missions.

    The Distribution Platoon of 54th Engineer Battalion's Forward Support Company was in the middle of a convoy briefing in preparation to set out for their next mission when the rockets began to land just meters away from their briefing site. The platoon leadership immediately directed the crew to seek cover inside their armored gun trucks. Before any of the gun trucks were able to maneuver towards the T-wall barriers for additional protection, one rocket hit within 100 meters of all four gun trucks, damaging all but one of them.

    When this rocket landed, Sgt. 1st Class George Stanciel, the Platoon Sergeant for the distribution platoon, was hit with shrapnel in his leg and was immediately aided by his Soldiers, Sgt. James Cassidy, Sgt. Chad Fitzpatrick, Spc. Ryan Boetel and a medic, Pvt. 1st Class Jessie Assenmacher.

    Pvt. 1st Class Assenmacher attended to Sgt. 1st Class Stanciel's wounds by applying a tourniquet and dressing his wounds as more medical aid was summoned so Sgt. 1st Class Stanciel could be medically evacuated to receive further treatment. Pvt. 1st Class Assenmacher was awarded the Combat Medic Badge for superbly performing her medical duties while the unit was under fire and actively engaged in ground combat.

    Simultaneously, members of 4th Platoon, 370th Engineer Company reacted to the same event. As members of the platoon were asleep in a transient tent, one of the first rockets landed three feet from where they slept. The shrapnel from the blast put holes in the sides and roof of the tent causing two casualties, Sgt. Andrew Diaz and Sgt. Arthur Koinis. Several of the platoon's Soldiers performed first aid and evacuated the casualties to the field surgical team. Most notably, Pvt. 1st Class Christopher Doyle received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor device for his actions in shielding and rendering first aid to Sgt. Koinis as the incoming fire continued. Staff Sgt. Dustin Cosper received the Army Commendation Medal for administering first aid to Sgt. Diaz. Sgts. Diaz and Koinis were awarded the Purple Heart medal for their wounds. Sgt. Koinis completed physical therapy in Bamberg, Germany and has since rejoined 4th Platoon in Iraq. Sgt. Diaz is still recovering at Brooke Regional Medical Center and has made tremendous progress.

    The presentation of these honors was a solemn occasion for the Soldiers, as the reason for which they earned these badges also came with tremendous loss. The loss to the Distribution Platoon was irreparable as Sgt. 1st Class Stanciel died of his wounds within hours of the attack. However, his Soldiers' actions upon contact are a direct reflection of his influence and training and his profound impact will not be forgotten. The mission did not stop that day, as the Soldiers successfully completed their missions, nor has it slowed down since. The Soldiers of these platoons continue to drive forward by executing their missions to the high caliber for which 54th Engineer Battalion is known.



    Date Taken: 12.11.2008
    Date Posted: 12.11.2008 09:13
    Story ID: 27521
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

    Web Views: 693
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