Project Hero: CPL Clinton Warrick, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, September 29, 2007
Sept. 18, 2006. It began was a typical morning for Cpl. Clinton Warrick, a medic with the 2nd Platoon, 300th Military Police Company. The sun was bright, and U.S. military police and Iraqi policemen were conducting their usual transitional training at the Al Huria police station in Iraq. Suddenly, without warning, small-arms fire erupted from all directions. The base was under attack. Coalition forces concentrated fire on the attackers, but then a speeding pick-up truck crashed through the entrance and careened toward the center of the station.
His platoon leader, 1st Lt. Kevin Jones, was on the roof and saw the Suicide Vehicle Borne IED approaching. Just before what Cpl. Warrick remembers as a "fireball" rolled down the hallway in his direction, 1st Lt. Jones began running downstairs to get everyone as far back from the explosion as possible.
"I made it about halfway down the hallway when the explosion took place," said 1st Lt. Jones, who suffered burns and received shrapnel wounds on his lower back and legs. He was temporarily knocked unconscious.
"When I regained consciousness, I had an idea of what happened, but I was thrown down a side hallway, and it was full of smoke and debris," 1st Lt. Jones said.
The truck had detonated its 200-pound aircraft bomb, throwing Cpl. Warrick several meters and knocking him unconscious. Rubble from the explosion buried him. Warrick’s platoon leader saw what happened and quickly pulled him from the debris. Warrick’s legs were on fire so the platoon leader used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and dragged him 20 meters to a vacant room to help him fully regain consciousness.
When Warrick regained consciousness, he realized that he was badly burned; but he also realized that if he sat in one place, he would go into shock. He requested morphine, but his medic bag was buried in the burning building. As a medic, he knew that without pain medication, his only choice to avoid slipping into shock was to stay active. Though he was injured severely, Cpl. Warrick refused to sit down or lie down. So he had a choice to make. He could keep active by focusing on his wounds and suffering, or he could keep active by doing something to help.
Clinton Warrick was a medic. You know what choice he made. Warrick made his way outside amidst small-arms fire to triage patients at the casualty-collection point 1st Lt. Jones and his Soldiers established moments earlier. With a heavy stream of fire still reigning down on the station, and suffering from third-degree burns over 45 percent of his body - including his face - as well as shrapnel wounds and smoke-inhalation injuries, Warrick went about the work of a medic: He assessed injured soldiers and Iraqi policemen and told the nearby support battalion what injuries they could expect. That vital information helped save the lives of seven Iraqi policemen.
"I had a job to do and I still needed to do it," Cpl. Warrick said. "I was there for rendering medical aid.”
"Cpl. Warrick continued to use his medical knowledge to have the U.S. Soldiers treat our wounded as well as Iraqi Police. Even though he couldn't physically do it, he was helping us do it," 1st Lt. Jones said.
After a sufficient number of Quick Reaction Force personnel had arrived, Cpl. Warrick and other injured Soldiers were medevac'ed - with Cpl. Warrick's status marked as “urgent.”
His recovery, as you might imagine, has been slow, painful and is still incomplete. But his heroics that day have finally been recognized.
For his life-saving actions while suffering from life-threatening wounds, Warrick was awarded the Silver Star on Dec. 11, 2006.
Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, presented Cpl. Warrick the Silver Star and other awards before his family and friends, and his former 300th MP Co. platoon leader, company commander and first sergeant.
"This is one of Fort Riley's great Soldiers - one of our real, no-kidding heroes," Maj. Gen. Ham said at the ceremony. "It is right and proper that we come here to present you this award for valor. It is heroes like this who make our Army the best in the world and our nation so strong."
Today Warrick is in a medical hold company at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he has been undergoing surgeries and rehabilitation since his arrival last year. He is scheduled to be medically separated from the Army, and plans to return to his hometown to earn a teaching degree.
He still insists he was only doing the right thing at the right time.
"It's kind of hard to fathom because I just did my job," Cpl. Warrick said. "I didn't do anything special, is what I feel. I did what I needed to do."
Of course, what the humble Clinton Warrick doesn’t say is he did what needed to be done while suffering horrific burns, shrapnel wounds and smoke inhalation injuries. And that, as anyone would agree, is more than “special”. That is heroic.
As historian Stephan Ambrose said of the medics in WWII, “It was the universal opinion of the frontline infantry that the medics were the bravest of all.”
Like his predecessors in earlier wars, Cpl. Warrick risked his own safety and ignored his wounds in an attempt to save the lives of his brothers-in-arms. That is why medics like him are respectfully and lovingly called “Doc” by their fellow soldiers. Because they know that if the situation arises and “Doc” is physically able, he’ll be there for them.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.