Scott Redmond ‘You really don’t feel stuff at the time’
June 14, 2009
Unit: 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion
Medal: Bronze Star with “V”
Earned: July 10, 2008, Anbar province, Iraq
When he returned to Okinawa from Iraq in November, Marine Sgt. Scott Redmond, 22, described 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion’s seven-month deployment as “long periods of boredom, followed by short periods of excitement.”
The July night his team walked into an unmarked enemy minefield was one of those “short” periods, and for his actions then, he was awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” device.
On July 10, Redmond, then a corporal, was part of a five-man team on a foot patrol conducting reconnaissance and surveillance in Anbar province.
Redmond was the point man as the team moved to a clandestine observation post. All was quiet until the third man back, radioman Cpl. Justin Hullett, stepped onto a hidden tripwire attached to a land mine.
Assistant team leader Sgt. Tyler Van Hook, 20, also a corporal at the time, remembers the “BOOM!” that echoed through the night.
“An explosion goes off, and I can see a cloud of white smoke and ball bearings flying everywhere,” Van Hook said.
Redmond just remembers that he felt a burning sensation.
“It felt like a bee sting in the back of my leg, and I heard a very loud noise,” he said. “The adrenaline rush is so much that you really don’t feel stuff at the time.”
Redmond said his first thought about the explosion was that it was a grenade. Then the team found the wire tangled around Hullet’s legs.
“I screamed to the team that we were in a minefield,” Redmond recalled.
Van Hook, who had been farthest from the explosion, was the only one without injuries. He recalled that Redmond “was pretty shaken up” and that medical help for the team was at least a half-hour away.
Redmond, suffering a concussion, attended to the many entrance and exit wounds on Hullet’s legs and hip. He also tended shrapnel wounds in team leader Sgt. Darren Dugan’s thigh and heel.
Van Hook cared for reconnaissance scout Cpl. John Rice’s exposed bone fracture and other shrapnel wounds on both legs.
“There was a lot of screaming and hollering of instructions,” Redmond recalled.
He and Van Hook still had to carry their injured teammates out of the minefield to a safer evacuation point.
Now, about 40 minutes after the team encountered the minefield, a quick-reaction force arrived to provide additional security, and helicopter evacuation wasn’t far behind.
It was only then that Redmond realized the extent of his own injuries.
“I went to carry Corporal Hullett to the bird, and I fell down and realized I was hurt,” Redmond said.
A ball bearing had punctured his leg within a half-centimeter of his femoral artery, leaving an exit wound in his calf.
“I was lucky it was a ball bearing and not a fragment,” Redmond said.
When the corpsman, Petty Officer 2nd Class Toran Jacobson, 26, arrived at the scene, he was surprised at how much Redmond and Van Hook had already done for their injured comrades.
“There wasn’t a whole lot left for me to do,” Jacobson said during a July interview in Iraq with Stars and Stripes. He added that he didn’t realize Redmond was a casualty until he boarded the medevac helicopter after the three other wounded Marines were loaded.
All four were evacuated to the States for further medical treatment, and Jacobson credits Redmond and Van Hook with saving the others’ lives.