News: Navy corpsman promoted for meritorious combat service
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Only one sailor is combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of E-5 in Afghanistan each quarter, and this quarter, that sailor is a member of Paktika Provincial Reconstruction Team.
Commanders promoted U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Torrean Clarke, PRT corpsman, and a Neptune, N.J., native, in front of his teammates June 10.
In November, Clarke was in an armored vehicle during a PRT mission in Paktika’s Urgun District when an improvised explosive device composed of 75 pounds of homemade explosives detonated underneath Clarke’s vehicle, throwing the vehicle into the air and rolling it on to the right side.
“His actions during the IED strike in November definitely saved at least one of our team member’s lives,” said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Donny Cox, PRT commander, from Fort Worth, Texas.
Once Clarke realized what was going on after the IED went off, he treated and stabilized the driver and truck commander as well as the gunner who had been thrown from the turret and was moaning in the middle of the road.
“When we hit the IED, it took me a minute to realize what had happened,” Clarke said. “The whole truck was quiet.”
As soon as soldiers posted security Clarke he and the security forces soldiers moved the gunner to safety, stabilized him, and then assessed the driver and TC, finding both unresponsive.
“I noticed that the driver’s ankle was hanging on by a tendon, so I stabilized his ankle and taped his legs together for a splint,” Clarke said.
From what the TC communicated, Clarke thought he may have had a fractured spine. Clarke kept the three soldiers stabilized until a helicopter arrived for medical evacuation.
In addition to the promotion, his superiors awarded Clarke the combat action ribbon and combat medic badge.
“It’s well deserved,” said U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Tamora Holland, PRT medical officer, who calls Pittsburgh home. “I’m very proud of him. He will make an excellent leader, he already has been one. He’s worked hard this whole deployment and never lost steam.”
Clarke’s supervisor, U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Doug Thompson, PRT medical non-comissioned officer-in-charge from Dayton, Ohio, is the team member who submitted Clarke for the award and promotion.
“This is huge,” Thompson said, “seeing how they only have two of these promotions per quarter, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, the fact that he got it says a lot of his character.”
When Clarke completes this deployment in July, he will move to San Antonio for a year-long bio-medical repair technician school, where he would learn to fix medical equipment like X-ray machines.
“I feel great,” Clarke said. “I really appreciate the recognition.”