SSG Zackery K. Blansett
On August 11, 2010, SGT Blansett, a flight medic for DUSTOFF 92, responded to a priority point of injury at LZ Sparrow in Laghman Province, Afghanistan.The terrain was mountainous allowing the enemy positions on the high ground to attack target of opportunity. It was imperative that injured be evacuated immediately.
The crew landed at the requested grid, SGT Blansett exited the aircraft to locate and assess the patients. There were a total of 6 patients to evacuate, 3 at the landing location and 3 about 300 meters from their current location. SGT Blansett coordinated the first 3 patients pickup. One on his aircraft and two on their chase aircraft, he then departed to the new grid for the last patients. The pick-up site was too steep to attempt a land and the crew prepared for hoist operations. SGT Blansett was hoisted to the ground where he reported hearing enemy fire. He took cover behind a rock and assessed his patients while under fire. He prepared for the most critical patient to be hoisted out first, disregarding his own safety. With the first patient ready to be lifted out, the aircraft took more fire. While remaining under fire, SGT Blansett called for the aircraft to take cover as he worked to move his patient behind cover while he also returned fire on the enemy position. He was able to secure a map and DAGR from one of his patients and called off their position to orient the Scout Weapons Team. The Air Weapons Team, providing overwatch protection worked to clear the area for another hoist extracation attempt. Once the DUSTOFF 92 repositioned, SGT Blansett connected the first patient for extraction and the aircraft began taking rounds for a third time. While under direct fire, SGT Blansett worked to secure the patient so the crew could rapidly depart while taking cover. DUSTOFF 92 departed for refueling and delivered the patients onboard for medical care. After a hasty recon of the map, SGT Blansett moved his remaining two patients into a nearby draw that provided good cover and concealment for the aircraft while the final hoist extraction was performed.
SGT Blansett's abilities as a courageous Army flight medic, saved the lives of four wounded US Soldiers under extreme conditions while under direct enemy fire. His dedication to the MEDEVAC mission contriuted to the survival of the four soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of military service.
SSG Zackery Kain Blansett, US Army, Hometown, Jonesboro Arkansas. Military awards include; Afganistan Campaign Medal with 2 campaign stars, Bronze Star Medal with 'V' device, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, (4th award), Army Commendation Medal, (3rd award) Army Achievement Medal, (3rd award), Army Good Conduct Medal, (3rd award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, (2nd award), NATO Medal (2nd award).
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