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Photo Information

Hit, Iraq (September 4, 2005)-- The damage left by an the SVBIED used in an attack on Company "I", 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines after an attack by insurgents disrupted civilians receiving money from multinational forces damaged a bridge, a caused more than 40 WIAs, one KIA to multinational forces and eight civilian casualties. (Official USMC Photo by Corporal Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

3/25’s Devil Docs save lives in heat of insurgent attack

4 Sep 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Petty Officer 3rd Class Aragorn T. Wold’s day was just beginning when the corpsman with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, heard screaming and small arms fire. The corpsman began to rush into action when he heard three blasts followed by a huge explosion that covered them in debris and medical gear. A few minutes later, 23-year-old Wold and the other hospital corpsmen he had been with found themselves unconscious lying underneath what remained of the company’s field aid station. “I remember waking up when someone stepped on the board that was on top of me,” the Greensboro, N.C. native said. “Everyone else slowly began to rise from underneath the pieces of the room and checked to see if any of the other corpsmen were hurt before trying to find other casualties.” “One of my corpsman had established a casualty collection point in the room next to us,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class George J. Cleveland, a Conneaut, Ohio, native. “I began assigning everyone jobs and could hear a huge firefight outside.” Cleveland left his other two sailors to collect casualties and search the debris for usable medical supplies. As he moved throughout the building, rounds flew past him as the Marines repelled the enemy’s attack. Along the way, he found combat lifesavers (Marines trained in advanced lifesaving techniques) and told them to take their medical supplies and any casualties to the collection. The 1993 St. Johns High School graduate returned to the collection point and he and other corpsmen began treating the wounded with the few supplies they had. As wounded continued to come in, an Iraqi soldier came in with urgent news. “He announced that many people were hurt and they needed help,” said Cleveland. “I took another Marine with me and ran under fire into the building the soldier indicated. When we got there, it was a wreck.” The Iraqi Security Forces’ building had taken a lot more damage because it was closer to the car bomb and to the buildings from which insurgents were attacking. Their medical officer and their liaison, an Army Soldier, were among the injured along with civilians who had come to receive settlement payments from Multi-National Forces. Cleveland began to escort them back to an already crowded collection point. The language barrier along with the heightened emotion of the soldiers made the work for corpsmen, many of whom were injured themselves, extremely difficult. The “docs” were able to stabilize all the seriously wounded and begin the administrative work that needed to be completed before medevacs could occur. By this time, their adrenaline began to wear off and their injuries began to show. “I remember going into a room and forgetting what I was there for,” said Cleveland, a 2002 Kent State University graduate. “I also noticed that I was limping.” “We kept talking to each other in order to keep each other going and remind each other what we were doing,” Wold said. “When we got a chance to sit down we realized that one of us would have to go back to Camp Hit. Cleveland wanted to stay, but I mentioned that he was limping and that settled it.” Cleveland unwillingly left the base in Wold’s trusted but weary hands and returned to Camp Hit for medical treatment. Wold would leave on the next convoy, but until then, he assisted the Marines in reconstructing the FAS and the rest of the base. Cleveland and Wold returned the next day to find it in even better shape and more medically stocked than before the attack. “This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” said 30-year-old Cleveland. “But I would do it again if my brothers in the service ever needed me.” “I am so proud to be with these guys,” Wold said. “They did there job of fighting the enemy and then worked tirelessly to repair any damage to their home. “We also did an awesome job working hurt and under fire to take care of them. I’ll never forget it.”