In January 2012, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Winder Perez was stationed in Afghanistan. In a fight, he was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade in the leg.
However, the RPG did not detonate but stuck in his leg. The military has rules against transporting ordinances that have not exploded, but the medical evacuation team picked him up and took him to a Navy medical officer.
Saving a Marine
The first person from the crew to pick up Perez was Specialist Mark Edens. On the flight over, they were told they were picking up a girl who was injured.
Upon arrival, they found Perez. He had a rather large wound, plus a 2-foot long rocket coming out of his leg—the Army pilot Capt. Kevin Doo had the crew vote on whether or not they wanted to go against the rules, accept the danger, and help the lance corporal.
All of the crew voted yes. Doo said to Army journalists, “There was no doubt to anyone that we were going to take this Marine and get him the medical attention needed to save his life. When dealing with this — not knowing that any moment could be your last — 18 inches from the patient’s legs was about 360 gallons of aviation fuel.”
“After Lance Cpl. Perez was loaded on the Black Hawk, it was a total of 11.2 minutes of flight time where every minute felt like an hour. During that time, we were on the radio coordinating with our escorts, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, and medical personnel who were going to treat Perez.”Capt. Kevin Doo
The head of the surgical company, Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Gennari, met the helicopter and Perez at the Forward Operating Base Edinburgh along with Army EOD Staff Sgt. Ben Summerfield.
Summerfield removed the RPG from Perez’s leg, and Gennari stabilized him. Gennari said Perez truly was severely injured and would have likely died from his injuries if the MEDEVAC did not pick him up so quickly.
The Army MEDEVAC crew took Perez to Camp Bastion so he could recover.