Vilseck friends mourn fallen medic
Sgt. Tyler Prewitt carried a medical bag into combat, but he had the heart of an infantry grunt.
“He was known throughout our sector as the only medic with a sniper scope on his rifle,” said Capt. Arron Lummer, rear detachment commander of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, Prewitt’s unit. “His chain of command consistently had to remind Tyler that a medic’s job is to treat people — not shoot people.”
Prewitt’s friends and fellow soldiers gathered Tuesday at the Rose Barracks chapel in Vilseck, Germany, to remember the 22-year-old field medic. He died Sept. 28, four days after a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle near Baqouba, Iraq.
Born in Wyoming, Prewitt grew up in Phoenix. After graduating from Greenway High School, he played baseball at Phoenix College. An outstanding athlete, he often competed with his brother, Chad, a standout basketball player at Arizona State who now plays professionally in the Continental Basketball Association.
Like Pat Tillman, the late Arizona Cardinals star who ended his football career to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Prewitt quit baseball and college to enlist after 9/11.
Colorblindness stopped him from becoming an infantryman as he had hoped. Instead, Prewitt became a combat medic, earning both the Expert Field Medical Badge and the Combat Field Medical Badge. He served in Kosovo during 2003 with the 2-2 Infantry, then deployed with the unit to Iraq last February.
There, Prewitt served on the scout platoon. His vehicle was on a damage assessment in Baqouba when insurgents ambushed it. Even after the attack that blew off one of his feet, Lummer said, Prewitt calmly instructed others how to treat his wounds before he lost consciousness minutes later.
“Sgt. Prewitt was a leader among men,” Lummer said in his eulogy Tuesday, “not because of the rank on his collar, but because of the caliber of his character and the fire and passion in his heart.”
Prewitt was evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where his family gathered around his bedside hoping for his recovery. However, he died of complications from the wound, Lummer said, and Prewitt’s organs were donated to seven other people — including a dying man in Munich who received his heart.
“Even in the afterlife, this medic continues to save lives,” Lummer said.
In addition to his brother Chad, Prewitt is survived by his parents, Tim and Johnnie Prewitt, and his brother Richie.