1st Cavalry News
Airman Flies to Soldier’s Aid, Gets Valor Award
By Pfc. Nathaniel Smith
4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs
BAGHDAD – An airman attached to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with a “V” Device for Valor June 8 for his actions that led to the saving of a Soldier’s life.
Special Agent Travis Guthmiller, a member of Weapons Intelligence Team 10 of Task Force Troy from Jamestown, N.D., was responding to a weapons cache-finding in the Doura region of southern Baghdad on April 1 when the rear vehicle of his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device.
The deep-buried IED blasted off the front end of the humvee, ejecting the gunner from his turret and dropping the truck into the crater.
When the dust settled and Guthmiller could assess the damage, executing was the only thing on his mind.
“I was kind of just on auto-pilot,” he said. “You had to do what you had to do while you’re out there and make sure it got done.”
Guthmiller did what he had to and more. After sweeping the area for secondary IED’s, the airman brought the lead vehicle closer to the blast site for extra security.
When that extra security was established, Guthmiller, who is combat lifesaver qualified, assisted the medics however he could. After bringing a litter from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal truck and loading it, the convoy took off for the hospital.
On the way to the hospital, Guthmiller continued to go beyond his responsibilities by keeping the injured gunner’s head still and insuring he could breathe normally.
The airman said the gravity of the situation didn’t fully sink in until the next day when he had time to think.
“I was kind of just thinking the next day ‘That could have broken out into some crazy fighting. That could have been pretty hairy,’” he said
1st Lt. Brett Gillet, a platoon leader with the 47th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company from Killeen, Texas, said the Guthmiller’s combination of situational awareness and action caught his eye.
“Anybody can react and say, ‘Okay, let’s go to the scene,’ but he went to the scene, looked around at security, and noticed security wasn’t as good as it could be,” Gillet said. “He looked when he was in the truck and recognized that he was in the best position to help instead of just sitting there and saying, ‘Okay, medic, you do your job, and I’ll do my job.’ There wasn’t any hesitation.”
Guthmiller, who is attached to Task Force Troy out of Minot Air Force Base, S.D. said receiving an award from a service aside from his own was a special feeling.
“It felt really good. I was surprised a little bit, but it’s cool to be an Air Force guy getting an Army award.”
Gillet said Guthmiller’s actions were worthy of his new decoration.
“If you asked (him), he’d say he’s just doing his job,” he said. “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it’s still saving a guy’s life, and it’s a pretty award-winning thing.
Despite receiving the recognition, the airman, who has been working with joint service units since August 2006 and at Forward Operating Base Falcon since January, passed credit onto everybody who was at the site that day.
“That was a really good, concerted effort by everybody that was out there,” he said. “I got a medal for what I did, but the guys out there, everybody just came together. It was really cool.”
Harker Heights, Texas native Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, pins the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for valor onto Special Agent Travis Guthmiller, from Jamestown, N.D., June 8 at Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rashid District of Baghdad. Guthmiller, an Air Force member who is part of Task Force Troy and attached to the 610th Brigade Support Battalion, was awarded the medal for rendering medical aid to a Soldier and saving his life. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Timmons, 4th IBCT, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
Thank you Sir for a job well done!