FORT BRAGG, N.C. (NNS) -- A Navy hospital corpsman was awarded the fourth highest military honor during a June 24 ceremony at U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) on board Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF/DV/FPJ) Amilcar Rodriguez was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on Nov. 6, 2009, while serving as a combat advisor and corpsman with Marine Special Operations Company F, 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment, Special Operations Command. His unit was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan at the time.
Rodriguez, an Avon, Conn., native originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a trauma instructor at the Naval Special Operation Medical Institute (NSOMI), the Navy detachment within the Army Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center (JSOMTC) at Fort Bragg. He accepted the award in front of family and friends, crediting his actions during the four-hour gunfight to his training and experience gained during multiple missions, emphasizing the team work and camaraderie of his Company F teammates.
"This is recognition of what my team and I went through and how we reacted to the situation," said Rodriguez. "I had multiple roles on the team, and during that encounter I was prioritizing as well as being a corpsman for the team."
According to the citation, Rodriguez and an Afghan partner had established an overwatch position on a rooftop.
Shortly after, a U.S. Marine and two Afghan commandos who were part of Rodriguez' team were wounded by an enemy sniper. Rodriguez immediately returned fire into the enemy position, killing two members of the opposing force, and, despite imminent danger, moved to the wounded Marine's position. While extracting the Marine, Rodriguez sustained three gunshot wounds from another sniper.
Other Marines pulled Rodriguez and the other wounded service members from the roof, during which time Rodriguez calmly directed the initial assessment and treatment of the injuries he and the other service member had sustained. Though seriously wounded, Rodriguez calmly instructed another medic during the stabilization of other injured personnel later in the engagement.
"Petty Officer Rodriguez' heroic actions are in keeping with the proud tradition of hospital corpsmen who deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide both in wartime and in peacetime," said Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. "The bond that Corpsmen share with Marines is like none other - it's sacred and unique. When our Marines deploy, they know they will be well-cared for, from the battlefield to when they return home. We will follow the Marines into heaven or to the gates of hell."
The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations with a friendly force.
JSOMTC is a subordinate of the Naval Operational Medicine Institute in Pensacola, Fla., and the Navy Medicine Support Command in Jacksonville, Fla.
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