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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By Army Spc. Phillip Adam Turner

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'Soldier Hero' Proves Merit of CLS Certification
(September 27, 2010)

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Cheyenne, Wyo., native Spc. Eric Brubaker, a tanker with the 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division saved the life of a civilian driver involved in an accident on Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 20, 2010.
Cheyenne, Wyo., native Spc. Eric Brubaker, a tanker with the 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division saved the life of a civilian driver involved in an accident on Fort Hood, Texas, Sept. 20, 2010.
 FORT HOOD, Texas – Twenty-year-old Army Spc. Eric Brubaker doesn't want to hear the word hero used in conjunction with his name, he doesn't want to feel a pat on his back or a hand shake followed by the words “good job;” truth be told Brubaker probably doesn't want to see his name in print either.

However, when the tanker from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division saved the life of a civilian driver Sept. 20 on Fort Hood, Texas all these accolades would become synonymous with the mere mention of his name.

“I just found out today that everyone knew, I wanted it to stay quiet,” said the former ranch-hand and Cheyenne, Wyo. native.

“I don't like being in the spotlight, this isn't something I felt should have been talked about and traveled all over post, something like this is part of our duty, we are trained to react,” Brubaker added.

The morning of the 20th started out just as many days do for Brubaker, as he was attending his sixth Combat Life Saver Course (Brubaker's second
refresher course this year) to brush up on his critical soldiering skills readying himself for another deployment sometime within the next year.
“I was pulling out of the parking lot leaving CLS and witnessed a vehicle that appeared out of control cross the median and strike another car,” said Brubaker. “Being on Fort Hood with these crazy drivers you see accidents every day, but when her SUV came across the median and hit the driver in front of me, I saw the expression on her face, I knew she was [having a seizure].”

Approaching the door Brubaker finds the female occupant of the SUV non-responsive with visible bleeding, and a noticeable wheezing and gurgling in her breathing, which Brubaker's CLS certification told him was an obstructed airway.

“I knew from all my training and deployments that I had to help her get air, I had to open her airway back up. I ran to the trunk of my car and grabbed my IFAK (Improved First Aid Kit) and inserted my NPA (Nasopharyngeal Airway) into her.”

The NPA is a tube that is designed to be inserted into the nasal passageway to secure an open airway, and without it Brubaker knew the driver could have died.

“There were individuals checking under the car for leaking fluids keeping me informed of my surroundings, because the last thing I wanted to do was move her not knowing the extent of her injuries,” Brubaker said.

Keeping the driver stabilized for what seemed like a few seconds to Brubaker, until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene and relieved him. The soldier now doted as a hero gives all praise to his Army training.

“This soldiers action is a testament to all of the soldiers in this battalion, I am very proud of not just this Soldier, but all of them,” said 2-5 Cav. Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky Linton, who hails from Apalachicola, Fla. “We train hard here, and this just proves how much they are buying into what the command is all about and that is an expectation of excellence.”

Lots of talk has circulated about what the commendation will be for Brubaker. Many have thrown around the words “Soldier's Medal” since the incident, which is the highest peace time award a soldier can receive for their actions.

All of this is dismissed with a respectable smile and a shake of the head from a young man who enjoys blending in a formation rather than standing out in front of one.

Brubaker is always where he needs to be, doing what he needs to do, he is someone that the younger guys look to, and he is always putting everyone at ease when training goes a little long, or if his unit reports early for a 4 a.m. road march. He is the embodiment of a team player, said Brubaker's first line supervisor, Spc. Randy Meeks, who is from Blooming Grove, Texas.

The unit and his peers are not surprised by the heroics Brubaker displayed that afternoon or that it was coincidence that he was there at the scene.

“Perfect example! Spc. Brubaker has horrible knees, just terrible and they will get him down from time to time, but rather than take a knee and go on profile he would just gut it out every day,” said Meeks. “Four miles, six miles, no matter still there in formation keeping pace, it finally got to the point that we had to escort him to the doc, make him take a profile, and if that wasn't enough we had to guard him and our formation every morning just to keep him from sneaking in there for PT (physical training). He doesn't quit, Spc. Brubaker doesn't know how, that's why we are not surprised in the least about any of this,” said Meeks.

“This soldier deserves the accolades, deserves the recognition, we are talking about a combat veteran that is used to reacting to tragedy, and that's just what he did that day he saw something terrible and where most people would have set back and not known what to do, he knew how to react and did,” said Linton.

“He doesn't realize what he has done, and that's what you have got to love about this soldier,” he added. “Brubaker is what we should all want to be and that is a good soldier. He's quiet, he does what he has to do, and he shines when he needs to shine.”

“This all comes down to training,” Brubaker says. “I found myself in a situation and directly applied what I have been taught during my career to save a life. It's something we all can do; it is like riding a bike. When that switch flips and you see firsthand the benefits of your Army training, the rest is just muscle memory.”

Article and photo by Army Spc. Phillip Adam Turner
Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

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