FORT BENNING, GA – Courage, bravery, and compassion are all characteristics of an Army combat medic. This year’s U.S. Army Special Operations Command Medic of the Year takes these traits to a whole new level.
For his display of tactical knowledge, rapid decision making capabilities and casualty management skills portrayed in his battlefield care, Staff Sgt. Roberto A. Sevilla of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment has been named the USASOC Medic of the Year.
“It’s an honor to be recognized, but I wish this award could be shared with those that helped with the casualties such as the junior combat medics and the Ranger First Responders,” said Sevilla.
It is not uncommon in the 75th Ranger Regiment to find a medic that performs good life-saving medical skills and courage under fire.
“However, Staff Sgt. Sevilla goes the extra mile,” said Capt. Joshua D. Mitchell, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, battalion surgeon. “He consistently performs well-thought out and complete secondary and tertiary care, and he always provides clear and concise medical updates and medical handoffs even in the fiercest combat environments.”
Sevilla has taught more than 200 Rangers not only basic and advanced life-saving medical tasks but also how to successfully implement and apply Tactical Combat Casualty Care to wounded or injured Rangers, said Mitchell.
During the battalion’s last combat rotation, the assault force was moving to capture a high value target, when one of the Rangers triggered an improvised explosive device resulting in a below the knee amputation.
The wounded Ranger immediately placed a tourniquet around his left leg, and his squad leader placed one around his right leg; quick and effective actions that are a testament to Sevilla’s superior medical training to the Rangers.
The squad moved the wounded Ranger to a safer environment inside a building and Sevilla placed a second tourniquet to more effectively control the hemorrhaging.
Once the patient was evaluated and stabilized, Sevilla wasted no time in updating the ground force commander with a clear and concise casualty situation report requesting urgent medical evacuation of the casualty.
While managing the wounded Ranger, three additional casualties presented themselves to Sevilla with TBI symptoms. Sevilla quickly triaged them with a baseline cognitive evaluation while simultaneously dressing the casualty’s amputated left leg and a missing toe on his right foot.
“I was just doing what I was trained to do and provide the best medical treatment for my fellow Rangers in a timely manner, and get them to the next level of care as soon as possible,” said Sevilla.
Soon after, the assault force medically evacuated the four casualties. As they were being loaded onto the helicopter, Sevilla displayed his advanced medical knowledge by continuing to evaluate the patients for any signs of shock and secondary effects of trauma.
“This speaks volumes to Staff Sgt. Sevilla’s superior management skills and multi-tasking as he was able to assess their TBI symptoms and still treat the wounded Ranger,” said Mitchell. “Throughout the entire incident, he showed that he was not only a highly skilled medic who could perform basic trauma management tasks, but that he could always think ahead to the next step, provide timely updates to command, and give professional level patient hand-offs to the next level of care.”
On another mission, the lead squad was moving around a building in a dense tree line and was attacked by a large improvised explosive device, wounding several Rangers.
Following the detonation, Sevilla ran towards the sound of the blast approximately 50 to 100 meters away. He approached the first casualty where a junior medic was attempting to stop the casualty from bleeding out.
Displaying solid leadership, Sevilla took charge and instructed the junior medic to continue his intervention while he assessed that there were no other major wounds.
Sevilla assessed the casualty’s airway and determined he was having trouble breathing. After his initial manual maneuvers to open the airway were unsuccessful, he quickly adapted and inserted an airway.
The first responder for this casualty told Sevilla that “it was getting hard to bag and his chest was not rising as before.” Sevilla immediately needle decompressed the casualty’s chest, allowing for more effective air flow.
On another part of the objective, an additional Ranger had sustained serious wounds and was unresponsive.
Upon learning of the second casualty, through radio communication, Sevilla showed superb management and leadership skills by directing the Ranger first responder to begin bag-mask ventilating the casualty while Sevilla sent a junior medic to the other casualty’s location to assess, treat and provide a medical update.
Sevilla received a radio report from the junior medic on-site with the second casualty that the Ranger did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Sevilla quickly told the junior medic to insert an airway and an intravenous line and package him in a litter because the medical evacuation asset was less than ten minutes out.
With both casualties at the casualty collection point, Sevilla continued to assess and treat the wounded Rangers and prepared them for medical evacuation from a hot landing zone.
“All medical treatments were complete and thorough, a testimony to Staff Sgt. Sevilla’s leadership, maturity, combat composure and superior medical skills,” said Mitchell.
As the casualty evacuation aircraft was on its final approach, one casualty was still without a pulse and one casualty was receiving bagged ventilations with an absent pulse at his wrist.
In addition to these two casualties, Sevilla was also taking care of another Ranger who presented with minor shrapnel wounds to the face and mild TBI symptoms.
“Staff Sgt. Sevilla performed a superior hand-off with the flight medics to facilitate the continued care of both severely wounded causalities,” said Mitchell. “Although the Ranger casualty without a pulse was pronounced dead on arrival, at no time did the medical team under Staff Sgt. Sevilla’s guidance fail to provide the casualties the best medical care in the world to afford the Rangers with the best chance for survival.”
Sevilla’s training includes Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training—Combat Medic Course, Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, Special Operations Combat Medical Skills Course, Warrior Leader Course, Infantry Mortar Platoon Course, and U.S. Army Ranger Course.
The Combat Medic Course is taught at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and provided Sevilla with his Emergency Medical Technician-Basic Certification and qualified him as a combat medic.
Sevilla also attended the Special Operations Combat Medic Course at Fort Bragg, N.C. The intensive six-month course teaches extensive training in anatomy and physiology, kinetics of trauma, advanced trauma skills and procedures, Trauma Combat Casualty Care and combat trauma management.
Sevilla also completed a one month emergency room/EMT rotation at Tampa General Hospital and Tampa Fire and Rescue in Tampa, Fla. Upon graduation, he received a certification in Advanced Tactical Practitioner. He also completed a one month rotation at the Grady Trauma Center, Atlanta, Ga.
Sevilla has deployed six times in support of the War on Terror with three tours to Iraq and three to Afghanistan for a total of 24 months deployed.
Sevilla’s decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Medical Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, and Parachutist Badge.
He has also been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon and Army Service Ribbon.
Sevilla, a native of San Diego, Calif., is married with one child. In his spare time, he enjoys soccer and spending time with his family. He graduated from Hilltop High School in Chula Vista.
“Staff Sgt. Sevilla is the epitome of a special operations medic through his display of tactical knowledge, rapid decision making capabilities, and casualty management skills portrayed in his battlefield care,” said Mitchell. “His discipline and determination to mission accomplishment – saving Rangers and training first responders – is a true testament and definition of a Ranger Combat Medic NCO. He is easily one of the finest NCOs I have ever worked with.”
Sevilla has also been named the Special Operation Forces Medic of the Year by the Special Operations Medical Association.