PATROL BASE BOLDAK, Afghanistan --
If a Marine is seriously injured during a patrol, having a skilled Navy corpsman on the scene can mean the difference between life and death.
Seaman Jacob M. Schlauder, a corpsman with 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for heroic actions while serving as a corpsman with 9th Marines by commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, aboard Camp Leatherneck, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 18, 2014.
He never thought he would save someone’s life on his first deployment, he said.
“I joined the Navy to see the world,” said Schlauder, a 20-year-old native of Stonington, Conn.
Schlauder distinguished himself during a vehicle patrol in Helmand province on Jan. 25 by rendering lifesaving medical aid to injured Marines despite being wounded himself.
“He’s a born leader,” said Navy Lt. Shawn Consey, assistant battalion surgeon, 1st Bn., 9th Marines. “He’s involved in every aspect of 3rd Platoon and 100 percent dedicated to the Marines, and it shows.”
While his platoon provided assistance to another unit engaged in a firefight with enemy insurgents, a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle, critically wounding the turret gunner and patrol leader.
Despite suffering a traumatic brain injury that caused him to repeatedly lose consciousness, he persistently performed lifesaving actions to stop the bleeding from a partial amputation and addressed several other significant shrapnel injuries, ultimately saving the lives of the turret gunner and the patrol leader.
“At the time I kept thinking, ‘What do I need to do now?’ and ‘Who else needs my help?’" Schlauder said.
As the only medical provider on scene that day, his calm composure under fire was instrumental in stabilizing several casualties that may have otherwise lost their lives.
“He’s a force multiplier,” Consey said. “He’s an outstanding corpsman and an exceptional rifleman. As a corpsman assigned to an infantry platoon, he’s perfectly qualified for any situation, whether it’s patrolling or saving lives. He’s excellent at both.”
“I think that’s why I like my job so much,” he said. “I get to make a difference saving the lives of my brothers.”