CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq -- After one massive explosion from a suicide car bomb a corpsman looks up only to see another car loaded with explosives barreling through the smoke of the last explosion.
Seaman Gilbert Rocha, line company Corpsman, Company B, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team-2 takes care of the Marines’ sick-call issues and other emergency medical problems no matter what time of the night or day.
“I’ve treated every type of injury, from people falling off cliffs to shrapnel injuries from grenades to damage done by car bombs,” Rocha explained.
The 20-year-old corpsman was setting up a Vehicle Control Point (VCP) with other Marines from Company B when a single car came speeding toward him and the Marines.
“The next thing I saw was the car heading straight for my sergeant,” Rocha said.
The first car bomber exploded near the sergeant knocking him to the ground.
“I ran back up the road; it was now covered with shrapnel and my first thought was that my sergeant was dead. I was at least 50 meters away running toward him when I looked up and saw the second car coming through the smoke,” Rocha stated.
The second car bomb detonated close to the Yokosuka, Japan native, hurling a piece of shrapnel into his leg.
“I thought I was going to die,” he stated. “Without even thinking I turned to the side and that is when it blew up and threw me to the side of the road.”
After quickly wrapping his own injury to slow the bleeding, Rocha began treating the Marines.
“My sergeant had a big shrapnel injury to his buttock,” Rocha said. “He had a big chunk of meat missing. He had a lot of blood coming out so I used the quick clot (blood clotting agent) on it. He also had a lot of smaller shrapnel injuries.”
Rocha also treated other Marines on site, including one who had a piece of shrapnel go through his hip. Rocha stopped helping the other Marines only after being pulled away.
The Kinnick High School graduate is currently on his first deployment to Iraq working hard to do what he was trained to do.
“I’m just doing my job,” he said.
Rocha patrols in a Light Armored Vehicle with the Marines of Company B, providing over-watch, conducting improvised explosive device sweeps and searching for un-exploded ordnance.
“I like working with the Marines over here. I really respect the small unit leadership that the Marine Corps has.”