KARMAH, Iraq --
Corpsmen are often considered the medical ray of light for Marines in a combat zone.
Sometimes their light shines bright enough to reach local Iraqis in need, whether it be during a routine combined medical engagement, or for one Iraqi child who almost drowned, on the spot emergency medical attention that saved his life.
Navy Chief Roger Buck, a 34-year-old battalion medical chief from Niceville, Fla., with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, saw the limp child cradled in his father’s arms during an Iraqi key-leadership, joint-forces dismounted patrol.
Buck ran toward the boy and immediately began administering CPR on the drown victim.
“(Our) interpreter explained I was like a doctor,” said Buck. “They told us they found him face first in a canal. He had a light, faint pulse. I tried to calm the parents down then immediately started applying medical treatment. I cleared his airway and started giving him CPR.”
Within a few minutes the boy regained consciousness, coughed up water and was taken to a local hospital for follow on care.
“He did everything he should have,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Schidlmeier, a platoon leader with Lava Dog Assesment Reaction Team, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines. “His actions were admirable; especially for the situation. He reacted even though he was posting security—made sure a Marine took his position and treated the kid immediately.”
Buck said he was merely in the right place at the right time and just doing his job, and the look of gratitude and appreciation on the terrified parents was all the thanks he needed.
Buck insisted that all corpsmen carry a great load of responsibilities, starting from the first day of corpsman training, to adapt and be versatile with varying situations. To him, it was just another day of life in the operating forces.
“I was just happy I could bring the kid back,” he said.
Days later, the battalion recognized Buck’s heroic actions and awarded him a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his reactive measures and successful treatment.
“There are a thousand things a day that corpsmen do that go unseen,” he said. “It's always good to save a life. You don't always get to save everyone, so when you do it's very rewarding.”