By Spc. David Hodge
1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – A Soldier from the 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, provided emergency medical treatment for a U.S. Army Contractor involved in a head-on collision, March 25, on a main supply route in Kuwait's Udairi Desert.
Staff Sgt. Michael Blake, a scout section sergeant assigned to Troop A, 7-10 Cav. Regt., was the first to render life saving medical care to the critically injured man who crashed a sports utility vehicle into a light pole.
Blake was part of a convoy bound for port operations in Kuwait City to download the unit's cargo and equipment destined for combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when the accident occurred.
"The second the pole hit the ground Blake veered the vehicle onto the side of the road and jumped out," said Maj. Lesley Ortiz, the 1st BCT supply and logistics officer, who was traveling with the Soldiers when the accident occurred.
"He told me to contact emergency officials while he grabbed his individual first aid kit and rushed over to the injured man," she said.
When Blake reached the vehicle, the injured man lay sprawled on the ground beside the SUV. Blake immediately provided first aid, the same emergency medical trauma care that he has learned throughout his 11-year service.
"I conducted all medical assistance in accordance with what I learned in (combat trauma casualty care)," said Blake, who hails from Martha's Vineyard Island, Mass.
"He took control of the situation," stated Ortiz, a native of Atlanta. "It was just amazing to watch him direct everybody around the scene."
Blake ordered one of his scouts to redirect the blocked traffic on the road as a medic platoon leader helped him with the casualty.
"As a scout section leader I get paid to make decisions on the spot," stated the former lifeguard. "I knew what I had to do. In this situation, I had to make sure he was stable until emergency services arrived."
Blake placed a makeshift splint on the casualty's wrist.
"I used two magazines to splint, what I believed, was a possible fracture to his wrist," Blake explained. "I also dressed and cleaned some lacerations on his forearm."
After Blake's initial assessment, the man said he tasted blood. Blake's instinct told him that the man had internal injuries. All the non-commissioned officer could do was comfort the stranger until a higher echelon of care arrived.
Blake poured a small amount of water into the individual's mouth for thirst and positioned himself so that his shadow would cover the injured man.
When the emergency medical services arrived, Blake assisted the emergency medical service workers with the spine board and neck brace.
In the days that followed, Blake consistently visited the provost marshal office to check the status of the gentleman, said Ortiz.
"The next day, I talked to the officer at the provost marshal and the guy had a damaged aorta valve," Blake said.
Every Soldier should take the Army's combat lifesaver training, said Blake.
"That stuff really works," added the squad leader who credits his training for his performance that day.
Staff Sgt. Blake is one of those Soldiers that is always willing to help, said 1st Sgt. Shannon Boldman with Trp. A, 7-10 Cav., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
"His actions on that day exemplify what an 'Assassin' Troop NCO should do in that situation," Boldman said. "He is a great leader and I look forward to serving with him during this deployment."