FORT POLK, La. — When three Fort Polk Soldiers headed to Baton Rouge to catch an up and coming country music band Midland at the Texas Club Feb. 8, little did they think their military training would help save a man’s life.
Pfc. Justin Pfeiffer, Sonora California, Pfc. Mark Rivington, Panama, Oklahoma, and Pfc. Jacob Roedenbeck, a 68A biomedical equipment specialist from Kansas, Oklahoma with the 32nd Hospital Center, stopped at a gas station.
“After we got gas, we headed toward the Texas Club and a train crossed the road in front of us,” Pfeiffer said.
Pfeiffer said he noticed what he thought were two men fighting near the railroad tracks.
“But when one of them flopped over, I saw he was missing an arm and a leg,” Pfeiffer said.
That’s when the trio sprang into action, rushing to the man’s aid.
Rivington happened to bring his IFAK (individual first aid kit) on the trip, removed a tourniquet and placed it on the injured man’s leg.
“I only had one tourniquet, so we borrowed a belt to put around the man’s arm,” Rivington said.
“There was no stick to use (to tighten the tourniquet) so I tied a bunch of knots into it until it was tight enough.”
As the tourniquets were being applied, Roedenbeck dialed 9-1-1 alerting emergency medical personnel and police of the incident.
“We kept the pressure on his injuries to try and stem the flow of blood until EMS (emergency medical services personnel) arrived,” Pfeiffer.
“Once they got there, we turned it over to them.”
Pfeiffer said they learned that the injured man had tried to jump on the train and the other man attempted to stop him, resulting in the first man being injured.
“It was pretty horrific,” Pfeiffer said. “His leg was still in his pants leg and his arm was a little ways down the track.”
In addition to Roedenbeck’s medical training, both Pfeiffer and Rivington had recently completed the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course in their units.
Lt. Col. Ian Davis, commander, 46th Engineer Battalion, said he was proud of the way his Soldiers responded to the incident “They used their training to help someone in the community.
“It validates the training our Soldiers are receiving. We’ve been going through the battalion getting everyone trained as TCCC.”
Col. Lee Burnett, commander, 32nd Hospital Center, said that after discussions with Davis, the three Soldiers would receive Army Commendation Medals for their actions.
Burnett also spoke to the selfless character of Roedenbeck “We found out what happened, not from Roedenbeck, but from another Soldier at the motor pool formation Monday (Feb. 10) morning.
“It speaks to his humility, his sense of service and his concern for his fellow man, he considers he was just doing his job” Burnett added.
“It just goes to show, that if something hits the fan and you’ve done good Army training, that training kicks in, it becomes muscle memory and you execute, we’re really proud of them.”
By CHUCK CANNON Command information officer