Here's a good story, again from Staff Sergeant Mike Pryor, about a Paratrooper Team Leader who saved the life of one of his men.:
Heroic Rescue Puts Paratrooper in Line for the Soldier’s Medal
By Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor
2nd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. Public Affairs
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Usually, Soldiers possess better moods on payday. One non-commissioned officer uses payday to help motivate Soldiers.
Sgt. Tyson Regier enjoyed giving his Soldiers’ spirits a lift by reminding them to check their bank accounts.
One payday turned to be a very bad day; almost costing Rieger and his team their lives.
Regier, 22, a scout with BTroop, 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 8nd Airborne Division, was conducting a joint patrol with the Iraqi National Police in Baghdad’s Sadr City area on the ides of June in 2007.
Regier was acting as the truck commander of the last humvee in the convoy. The rest of his crew consisted of Spc. Ryan Aberle in the turret, Pfc. Sergio Chavez driving, and Pfc. Michael Beaumont in the rear passenger seat. As they began cruising the Baghdad streets, Regier didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary.
“It started off as just a routine patrol,” said the Marquette, Neb. native.
In an instant, that all changed.
One minute he was watching people walk by on the sidewalk, and the next minute his truck was ripped apart by an explosion.
“I looked back, and I could see the street behind me, because the entire back (of the vehicle) was gone,” he said.
Regier’s humvee had been hit by an improvised explosive device. The blast had crumpled the vehicle, flattening the back end and setting it on fire.
Flames began spreading inside the vehicle, setting off the truck’s supply of extra .50 cal machine gun ammunition. To the crew, it seemed as if they were under heavy fire. Regier knew he had to get out of the vehicle, but his door wouldn’t budge. There was a small opening a few inches wide where the blast had bowed the door away from the frame. It was so tight Regier had to remove his body armor in order to wriggle out. With an effort, he squeezed his way out through the hole and dropped to the ground...
...On the street, he looked around and saw that Chavez and Aberle had also made it out of the burning wreckage. An old man was waving the Soldiers into the courtyard of his house for shelter. It was at that moment, with the safety of the courtyard beckoning, that Regier realized Beaumont was still inside the burning humvee.
In an instant, he made up his mind to go back and get his trapped comrade.
“Courage had nothing to do with it. I was scared out of my mind. But there are things more important than fear,” Regier said.
Regier and Aberle moved out onto the street. Both had dropped their body armor in order to escape the truck, and they were now completely exposed to the exploding .50 cal rounds and any small arms fire they might take.
“We both thought we were going to get shot out on the street,” Regier recalled.
When they got to the vehicle, they saw that it was engulfed in flames and smoke. Regier feared Beaumont might already be dead. But then he saw a hand emerge from the dark cloud of smoke inside and slap against the window. Beaumont was still alive, and struggling to get out. Regier tried to open the door for him, but it was fused shut. He and Aberle pulled on the handle until it melted through their gloves and started to burn away the skin on their hands. Still it wouldn’t move.
Regier raced to the door with the opening at the top that he had been able to crawl out of. He pulled himself up on top of the truck and squirmed back inside through the hole, with only his legs sticking out. In the chaos of fire and smoke inside the truck, he saw Beaumont moving around, still in his bulky Interceptor Body Armor. With the IBA on, Beaumont couldn’t fit through the exit. Regier screamed for him to take the armor off, but Beaumont didn’t understand.
“He was delirious. He didn’t know what was going on,” Regier said.
So Regier crawled in even further. He grabbed hold of Beaumont and tore his armor off. Then, with Aberle outside holding onto his legs, he began pulling and tugging until both of them were free. As soon as Beaumont was out, the three of them staggered away from the burning humvee and took cover.
It was the first chance Rieger had since the initial blast to gather his thoughts. He looked around. All his crew members had burns and shrapnel wounds, their faces were black with smoke, and their eardrums were blown out from the explosion. But everyone was alive.
Months later, Regier found he had been nominated for the Soldier’s Medal for his actions that day. The medal is awarded to Soldiers who display distinguished heroism, but Regier said he’s no hero. He’s not even sure if he did the right thing that day.
“For a long time I kept second-guessing myself, thinking, ‘What if this happened? What if that happened? Could I have done anything better?’ But you know, everybody’s alive and in one piece, and that’s all that matters,” he said.
Can anyone explain why Sergeant Regier was put in for the Soldier's Medal instead of something for combat action (Soldiers Medal is the highest award for courage in non-combat action)? They were hit by an IED. Combat.