Date Posted:11.02.2011 19:06
Location:BAGRAM AIR FIELD
Story by OF-2 PAO TFLF
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - In eastern Afghanistan’s Surobi’s
district, Kapisa province Oct. 4, insurgent machine gun fire tore into
the throat of French Pfc. Kevin V. during Operation Rapier II.
French military rules prohibit the complete identification of deployed French troops.
French Master Cpl. Michael M., a combat life saver with French Battle
Group 15/2, Task Force La Fayette, immediately reached his position.
“The bullet pierced his larynx without touching artery or vertebra,”
said Michael. “Suddenly, while we were evacuating him to what was
supposed to be the [helicopter landing] zone, he fell unconscious.”
Their position was under insurgent fire a few minutes before, and the
threat of enemy coming back was real; the medical evacuation helicopter
meant for the wounded French trooper could not land.
The decision the American medevac team from 3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat
Aviation Brigade made, hovering over Hill 2470, weighed risk against the
life of the French private.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson, a flight medic from Piqua, Ohio, with
Task Force Poseidon, attached herself to the UH-60 Black Hawk’s external
winch and began the descent to the mountain’s slope.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson (left), a flight medic with Task Force
Poseidon, shakes hands with the French company commander, along with
French Col. Jeand’heur (center), commander of French Battle Group 15/2,
“Surprises always come in small packages,” laughed U.S. Army Maj. Graham
Bundy, from Holly Springs, N.C., Gipson’s company commander.
As Kevin regained consciousness, he saw Gipson come down from the sky
and lift him to safety. He whispered later that she looked like an angel
The French soldier is considered a lucky man. With help from the U.S.
flight medics, he was immediately flown to a coalition hospital in Kabul
where a specialist began surgery. He is now able to eat and speak.
“This is an amazing story; almost too good to be true, but there it is,”
said French Col. Jeand’heur, commander of French Battle Group 15/2.
For her part in the rescue, Jeand’heur, along with Kevin’s company
commander, platoon leader and Michael, presented Gipson with a letter of
commendation in a small ceremony, Oct. 28, on Bagram.
For the French soldiers of TF La Fayette, Gipson has become their combat angel.
French Col. Jeand’heur (left), commander of French Battle Group 15/2,
presents U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson, of Piqua, Ohio, a gift of
appreciation, Oct. 28, for her rescue efforts that saved the life of one
of his men.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson (left), receives a letter of
commendation from French officers and Soldiers of Battle Group 15/2,
Task Force La Fayette, Oct. 28. Gipson, a flight medic, lowered herself
from a hovering helicopter to save the life of a French private.
(Photos by Spc Ken Scar)
Tags: Afghanistan, France, U.S., Kapisa Province, US Army, French Army, ISAF, T/F La Fayette, T/F Poseidon, B.G. 1/52, Dustoff, Medic
Location: Kapisa, Afghanistan (load item map)
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