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Chairman Lauds ‘Angels of the Battlefield’ at Armed Services YMCA Gala

Nov. 5, 2016 | BY Jim Garamone

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recognized combat medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen during the 10th annual Armed Services YMCA Angels on the Battlefield Gala last night.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said the five men honored represent thousands of medical professionals across the services who place themselves in danger to protect and care for others.

Marine Corps Gen. JoeDunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the keynote remarks during the 2016 Armed Services YMCA Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 4, 2016. The 10th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala honored medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen who demonstrated extraordinary courage while administering life-saving medical treatment and trauma care on the battlefield. DoD Photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann
Marine Corps Gen. JoeDunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the keynote remarks during the 2016 Armed Services YMCA Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 4, 2016. The 10th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala honored medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen who demonstrated extraordinary courage while administering life-saving medical treatment and trauma care on the battlefield. DoD Photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann
Marine Corps Gen. JoeDunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the keynote remarks during the 2016 Armed Services YMCA Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 4, 2016. The 10th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala honored medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen who demonstrated extraordinary courage while administering life-saving medical treatment and trauma care on the battlefield. DoD Photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann
Angels Gala
Marine Corps Gen. JoeDunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers the keynote remarks during the 2016 Armed Services YMCA Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 4, 2016. The 10th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala honored medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen who demonstrated extraordinary courage while administering life-saving medical treatment and trauma care on the battlefield. DoD Photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann
Photo By: Sgt. James K. McCann
VIRIN: 161104-D-SW162-0242

The five men -- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Cody C. Inman, Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Lopez-Bonaglia, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Ransom, Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas P. Otazo, and Seaman Elgie McCoy – received the Angels on the Battlefield for their courage, professionalism and compassion.

275,000 American Service Members Standing Guard 

Dunford reminded the audience – peppered with military officers, NCOs, veterans and family members – that even as the gala was going on, more than 275,000 American service members are deployed forward standing guard. Many are in dangerous areas. “They are taking the fight to the enemy,” he said.

The U.S. military lost five service members just this week in the Mideast. Still, they are performing their missions and doing so magnificently, he said.

The chairman stressed that these service members are ready. “You should know that they are fully capable of defending the nation,” he said. “They are reassuring our allies and they possess a clear competitive advantage over any potential adversary in the world.”

Allies, partners and enemies need to know the American military is ready, “but most of all it is important that the American public understands that it has the most competent, the most professional and the most capable military in the world – bar none,” Dunford said.

Medics, corpsmen, pararescuemen are an important part of that force. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen know that if they are wounded on the battlefield, the medical professionals who accompany each unit “has their back,” the chairman said. “They know if something should happen that they will receive world-class medical care, and they know that corpsmen, medics and pararescuemen will be right by their sides.”

The chairman noted that three weeks ago marked the 15th anniversary of the start of combat operations in Afghanistan. “That milestone came and went without much attention in the press, but reflecting on it, one of the things that struck me is how many advancements we’ve made in military medical care, and how much we depend on those who care for the wounded, ill and injured.”

Wounded Often Survive

Advances like the junctional tourniquet, better more realistic training and placing surgical teams forward has been transformational. “The results of our advancements are clear,” he said. “Today, more than 96 percent of those wounded in combat survive.”

But statistics only show so much, he said, and he cited cases where medics treating casualties while still under fire – shielding their compatriots with their own bodies. He spoke of corpsmen running into burning vehicles to rescue those hit and then performing life-saving procedures. He spoke of those pararescuemen wounded themselves, ignoring their pain to work on others.

Dunford thanked the Armed Services YMCA for recognizing these American heroes. “From the Civil War to our current campaigns, the YMCA has faithfully – as they put it – ‘followed the flag’ and provided support to our men and women in uniform and their families,” he said.

The worldwide organization is one of the leanest in existence with only 500 employees but with 10,000 volunteers and 34 branches supporting more than 500,000 troops and family members this past year. The chairman was especially pleased that almost all of the services of the Armed Services YMCA goes to programs tailored for the youngest and newest troops and their families.

Dunford also thanked the Armed Services YMCA for their support and help saying the U.S. military could not do what it does without the network of support the “Y” provides.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)