View Full Version : Corpsman continues to care for Marines after losing leg

11-03-05, 03:35 AM
Corpsman continues to care for Marines after losing leg
2nd Marine Division
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 3, 2005) -- It is unadulterated courage in the face of horrifying danger and risk. It is being able to perform under fire while knowing you are probably going to lose a leg. It is taking care of your Marines when everything is on the line. It is duty, courage and love all together. It is what Nathaniel Leoncio showed the Marines of Company L the morning of Oct. 4.

The mission was to patrol the southern part of Ar Ramadi in support of Operation Bowie, capturing or destroying insurgents and their weapons. However, when the convoy made its way to the dirt roads and unincorporated areas that make up the southern part of town, everything changed.

“As soon as we got on the dirt roads, four (Improvised Explosive Devices) went off about two feet from our vehicles,” said Cpl. Jason Luedke, a Humvee driver with Company L. “Our Humvee ended up in a three-foot crater. I started pulling Marines out of my vehicle and was trying to find cover when I saw that the Humvee in front of us had been hit and was flipped upside down.”

Another Marine in the second vehicle, Cpl. Neil Frustaglio, a vehicle commander for Company L, was one of the first people to rush up to the flipped vehicle.

“After the blast, I looked forward and actually saw the Humvee landing,” he said. “I was the first person there, and I heard Leo screaming for help.”

Leo is Seaman Leoncio, a hospitalman assigned to Company L.

“When I came around to his side, I saw that he was caught under the Humvee, that his leg was stuck,” said Frustaglio. “I grabbed the edge of the Humvee and lifted it up. I was yelling at him to pull himself out. He struggled to pull himself out from under the Humvee with only his arms. When he got out, that ‘s when I saw his leg.”

Leoncio had suffered an amputated right leg below the knee, a shattered right femur and serious internal bleeding. However, before he allowed himself to be medically evacuated from the scene, Leoncio began directing the other Marines at the scene on how to perform aid on himself and the other injured Marines on site, including the fourth Platoon commander, who suffered serious shrapnel wounds and required immediate surgical evacuation.

“When I got to Hospitalman Leoncio, he immediately began telling me how to care for him,” said Cpl. Kurtis Bellmont, an infantryman in Company L. “Before he was even stable, he began asking about the other occupants of the vehicle and trying to assess their injuries. Before he would let us move him to the medevac vehicle, we had to tell him that all of the casualties were receiving medical attention.”

The IED completely destroyed the Humvee and resulted in one death, three urgent surgical casualties and one routine casualty. Despite the chaos surrounding the attack, Leoncio kept his calm and bearing and never relented in his duty to his Marines.

“There are no words for what he did,” said Frustaglio. “The explosion was catastrophic, it blew the door off the Humvee and threw it 30-plus meters. Those doors weigh more then 300 pounds. When I got to (Leoncio) he was in pain, but he began telling me what to do. He was so calm, he was injured but he was telling me how and where to put the tourniquet on his leg.”

One of the passengers in the vehicle, 1st Lt. Bradley Watson, helped move Leoncio to the medevac vehicle and provided buddy aid to him while they were transported to Camp Ramadi for surgical evacuation.

“I helped pull Hospitalman Leoncio into the medevac Humvee and personally saw him wince in pain as he rolled over, opened his medical kit and treated (the fourth Platoon commander’s) shrapnel wound,” said Watson. “When he saw that the bleeding had stopped, he gave Cpl. Bellmont and me instructions on how to best care for him. He was calm, alert and responsive the entire way to Ramadi Medical. The only thing he asked for was that someone hold his hand to keep him awake and give him sips of water.”

Although his courage and dedication were highlighted during the horrible events of Oct. 4, the Marines of Company L were not surprised at “Doc Leo’s” courage under fire and performance through pain.

“Doc Leo was a real good guy, he was always helping Marines with anything he could,” said Luedke. “He was, overall, the nicest guy I’ve met in the military. He wanted to be here, in Iraq. He said before that the only reason he joined the Navy was to be a corpsman and serve with Marines in Iraq.”

Leonicio was transported back to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland where he is currently recovering from his wounds.



11-03-05, 03:50 AM
Combat Doc supports Marines in Ar Ramadi
2nd Marine Division
Story by Sgt. Ryan S. Scranton

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, RAMADI, Iraq (Nov. 3, 2005) -- Marlon D. Rendon immigrated to the United States from Ecuador when he was 17 years old to live with his father and start a new life in Queens, NY.

The 24-year-old petty officer third class is now serving as a corpsman with the 2nd Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing for the medical needs of Marines here. Joining Marines on their daily patrols through the streets of Ramadi is a far cry from his strolls as a teenager down Corona Avenue in Queens.

“I never thought I would be doing this when I joined the Navy,” Rendon said. “But I like what I am doing.”

Rendon is assigned to the camp’s Quick Reaction Force, which is responsible for responding to threats against the camp and bringing security to the area by patrolling the surrounding city’s streets. It’s not an easy job, but Rendon volunteered for the assignment.

“When I got here they asked me if I wanted to work with the QRF,” Rendon said. “I said yes because I thought it sounded exciting.”

So far the job has met his expectations. Since being assigned to the unit, he’s conducted more than 120 patrols and been involved in the capture of a local terrorist sought by the U.S. military. He’s also seen his fair share of gunfights, but said he doesn’t worry about his safety.

Rendon described an incident during his first encounter with the enemy where his patrol was engaged with small arms. One Marine in the patrol grabbed him as rounds impacted just a few meters from his feet. The Marine then threw him behind cover and instructed him to ‘stay down’ in an effort to prevent him from being injured.

“The Marines really take care of me,” Rendon said. “They definitely look out for me and they don’t let me get hurt. It’s reciprocal. They take care of me and I take care of them.”

Rendon joked about the incident which happened nearly a month after joining the QRF. He was the first corpsman to make it that long without being shot at. Most corpsmen assigned to the QRF come under fire on their first patrol and many have encountered far worse.

His tone became more serious when he described what he referred to as ‘his worse time ever.’ He was called to aid two Marines injured by an improvised explosive device. The IED attack on the patrol came from a location he had passed by moments before. He said he had a pseudo-flashback, recalling his footsteps on the patrol.

The realism of the situation quickly set in and Rendon started treating the injured Marines.

“After seeing two patients down, I quickly came back to reality,” Rendon said. “But afterward, I couldn’t help think that it could have been me.”

Rendon is committed to his work and to the people he helps. With every incident, he becomes more skilled and applies what he has learned the next time he goes out. According to Rendon, the greatest thing anyone can do is commit themselves to helping people and stopping their pain.

“At the end of the day it makes me feel good to know that I helped someone,” he said. “When a guy comes up to me and says ‘remember me, you helped me out,’ and then says ‘thanks,’ it makes my day.”

His passion for helping people drives him to pursue his work as a corpsman and a career in the Navy. He is currently working toward his nursing degree and hopes to one day become a medical diver.

“Working as a corpsman in the Navy is great,” Rendon said. “There is no better job. I love what I do and they even pay me for it.”


Doc Crow
11-10-05, 08:08 PM
God these men make me proud. Corpsman and their Marines a Unique Brotherhood to say the least