“I flew out of the ambulance so fast,” Wilson said in an interview. “I left my helmet and rifle behind.” In the next few minutes, Wilson made a vital decision that saved lives that night. “There are three things you can do to save a soldier’s life,” he explained. “Open up their airway [so they can breathe], use a needle to decompress a collapsed lung and use a tourniquet to prevent bleeding to death.”
Junior medic Jean de la Bourdonnaye, known as DLB, applied a tourniquet to Sgt. Lorne Ford’s leg above a shrapnel wound that had blown out an artery. Otherwise he would have bled to death. Wilson and his team managed to triage, treat and load all the wounded aboard Blackhawk helicopters and Bison ambulances in 54 minutes; all the wounded survived.
Not sure what had happened, Peck’s reflexes, like Wilson’s, kicked into threat analysis. Had Canadian weaponry malfunctioned? Had a mine gone off? Was it a Taliban attack? Peck did a head count of his platoon, then deployed it to secure the casualty area, using glow sticks to mark where wounded men (or body parts) lay.
“The bomb hit inside the wadi, the ditch next to the exercise,” Peck said. “A bomb like that has a danger radius of 500 metres. If it had hit on the flat of the desert, it would have been worse.” Marc Léger, who had recently been promoted to sergeant, died instantly in the explosion, as did Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard Green and Pte. Nathan Smith.
The Canadian Armed Forces, in recognition of the medics’ experience at Tarnac Farm, called on Wilson, DLB and Vic Speirs, the other junior medic who responded that night, to prepare others for future missions. Today, every medic and infantry solider who is about to deploy overseas gets a week-long Tactical Combat Casualty Care course, based on Wilson’s friendly-fire response, that prioritizes the ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation).
“I always take away the sense of validation of how we performed that night,” Wilson said. On April 18, his Remembrance Day, he’ll reunite virtually or in person — as he does every year — with Speirs, who lives in northern B.C. and DLB, who lives in Ottawa, the two medics who share his memories of that lifesaving, life-changing night.
This content was originally published here.