Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

SPC.: Joseph Gibson

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

SPC.: Joseph Gibson

Article excerpt

AS the helicopter full of Rangers touched down that April night in 2008, in Iraq, Gibson and his fellow Soldiers found themselves dodging enemy small-arms fire less than 50 meters away. Gibson's platoon sergeant would later say the enemy small-arms and machine-gun fire began less than a minute after the group disembarked the helicopter. Among the two Ranger casualties was a Soldier with a life-threatening gunshot wound.

Transporting the wounded Soldier over an uneven field with irrigation ditches and through enemy fire was a challenge, but the Rangers' dedication to each other motivated Gibson to get his friend to safety.

"(He) was my buddy; I didn't want to quit," Gibson said later. "For a while, it was just me on one end of the litter." Gibson's actions are credited with saving the Soldier's life. The Soldier returned home safely to see his wife and newborn child.

After assisting in the medical evacuation, Gibson and the Rangers continued their mission. They began to clear a field with tall grass and canals near the helicopter-landing zone. The Rangers knew enemy fighters were still in the area, even though most had fled when the Soldiers touched down.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

While clearing the field, Gibson stepped on an enemy combatant hiding in a ditch under some grass. At first, Gibson continued for a few steps. Following his instincts, Gibson turned around to investigate. The insurgent moved to kill Gibson and the other Rangers. …

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