07 November 2011

An American medic in a French tale

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—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, Oct. 28. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kenneth Scar, 7th MPAD)

During combat operations on October 4 in Afghanistan’s Surobi’s District, insurgent machine gun fire tore into the throat of French Pvt. 1st Class Kevin V. American MEDEVAC assets were called in.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Erin Gipson, a flight medic from Piqua, Ohio, with Task Force Poseidon, attached herself to the UH-60 Blackhawk’s external winch and began the descent to the mountain’s slope.

“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 to him.

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, Col. Jeand’heur, along with Kevin’s company commander, platoon leader and Master Cpl. 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.

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