Wisconsin Guard Unit Gets Award
Medical Battalion Counted Saddam Hussein Among Patients
WAUKESHA - Members of the Wisconsin National Guard's 118th Medical Battalion received the Army's Meritorious Unit Commendation Sunday for "meritorious service in support of military operations."
The unit, now called the 135th Medical Company, is based out of Waukesha. It provided medical service to Coalition Forces in Iraq in 2004, counting among its patients former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.
Unit Commander Capt. Sean Holloway told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Silvia Acevedo that the unit's ability to render medical attention under intimidating circumstances merited recognition.
"Rockets falling, mortars falling, bullets flying," Holloway explained. "Some very unpredictable situations and these folks stepped outside of their tents every day and didn't cower in the fetal position in their bunks. They stepped out and they did their jobs. I think that makes them exceptional."
"It might have been a struggle at first," said Sgt. Jessica McVey, after receiving her award, "but we all pulled together, and we're proud to say that we did our part."
"Everyone in our unit did good over there," adds Specialist William DeMeyer. "I'd never take back what we did."
Seventy-five unit members received the award Sunday, a red ribbon encased in a gold, rectangular frame.
The United States Congress will hear testimony Monday from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Commander in Iraq, and from Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Opponents of the war have promised to use the hearings to renew their calls for troop withdrawal.
Holloway says he fears what may happen in Iraq if they succeed.
"It could be quite hellacious if U.S. soldiers and Marines and coalition forces are not there," he said. "I think we kind of suppress a lot of what is going on there. And I say those people need us."
President Bush will speak to the nation this week about how to proceed in Iraq. The exact time of that address has not been announced.