Marine receives award for saving corpsman.
OXFORD - During a firefight in Afghanistan last fall, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Kory M. Fitzpatrick, 23, risked his life to save severely wounded Hospital Corpsman Third Class Michael Wengloski.
For this and other heroic actions, Sgt. Fitzpatrick, a 2006 graduate of Oxford High School, received the coveted Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for Heroic Achievement on Nov. 22. The medal is given "for meritorious service in a combat."
Earlier this month, he also became the first nonmedic in history to receive a special award from the American Association of Navy Hospital Corpsmen.
Association senior board member Russell T. Henderson, commander of the Greendale American Legion Post 319, former state commander and a national officer with the Disabled American Veterans and former commander of the Korean War Veterans Association, said he was amazed when he learned of Sgt. Fitzpatrick's bravery under fire.
"What he did was an extremely unusual event. He saved the life of a corpsman. It's usually the other way around. Sgt. Fitzpatrick acted as a corpsman when he stepped up and saved a `doc.' We wanted to honor him for his actions."
Mr. Henderson approached his fellow association corpsmen, who unanimously agreed. A specially minted coin, normally given only to corpsmen, was sent to Sgt. Fitzpatrick in early April, along with a letter signed by Mr. Henderson and Charles Kraut, association president.
The letter thanked Sgt. Fitzpatrick for his heroism when he "acted as a corpsman and saved the Doc. We present you with our association coin so that you will always remember that we are thankful for you saving our Doc's life. From all corpsmen past and present, it is great and comforting to know that the Marines truly have the backs of their brothers in arms."
Sgt. Fitzpatrick was squad leader for Company D, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, during a search operation in Taghaz, Afghanistan, on Oct. 15, when they were attacked from above with automatic rifle and machine gun fire.
Corpsman Wengloski was severely wounded and pinned down.
According to a "summary of action" released by the Marine Corps, Sgt. Fitzpatrick led his squad, "running into enemy fire in order to provide sufficient suppression for the casualty to be evacuated" into a nearby building, where the soldiers and 15 civilians took cover.
Sgt. Fitzpatrick, who is stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., said, "The corpsman had an arterial bleed. I led four guys through enemy fire from machine guns, then shot a grenade launcher to mark where the insurgents were. Air support took care of it, and we got the corpsman to a helicopter."
After six surgeries, that corpsman is expected to make a full recovery.
Since returning to the United States, Sgt. Fitzpatrick and Corpsman Wengloski have remained in contact.
"Mike's almost completely recovered. He'll be stationed at Camp Lejeune. He's really excited to be coming here, since everyone he deployed with is here. I'm really looking forward to seeing him," Sgt. Fitzpatrick said.
He said he was honored to be recognized by the corpsmen's association.
"That's phenomenal. I didn't expect it. It is such an honor."
He is not expecting additional deployments to Afghanistan in the near future, though he said he will go where he is asked to serve.
"It's my job."
During his six years in the Marines, he has had two tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he spent six months in 2008 and seven months in 2011.
"My family puts up with a lot," he said.
He and his wife, Amanda Radloff Fitzpatrick, a 2007 graduate of Oxford High School, live in Beulaville, N.C., with their son, Kameron, 2.
Sgt. Fitzpatrick is one of four sons of Kimberly Creamer of 10 Rollingwood Drive in Oxford. His brother, Kevin Fitzpatrick, a graduate of Holy Name High School and also a Marine, is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California. Brother Kyle Fitzpatrick, a graduate of Malden High School, is a sergeant for the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and youngest brother Michael Creamer, a sophomore at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, talks about joining the military.
Sgt. Fitzpatrick said he expects to serve as a combat instructor at Camp Lejeune's Camp Geiger School of Infantry starting this summer.
CUTLINE: (1) Amanda Radloff Fitzpatrick, left, with Sgt. Kory M. Fitzpatrick and their son, Kameron, 2, in Beulaville, N.C. (2) Russell T. Henderson, senior board member of the American Association of Navy Hospital Corpsmen and commander of Greendale American Legion Post 319 in Worcester, holds the coin awarded to Sgt. Kory M. Fitzpatrick of the Marines, who became the first non-corpsman ever to receive the award.
PHOTOG: (1) SUBMITTTED PHOTO (2) ELLIE OLESON
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Apr 20, 2012|
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