Crewmember of the Year

THIS YEAR’S CREWMEMBER of the year is SGT Christine Roberts of the 50th Medical Company, stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. SGT Roberts is the mother of three children and an outstanding soldier and flight medic. She arrived at Fort Campbell in December 2000 from Korea, where she served as a Clinic NCOIC as a Corporal. Her first stop after her arrival at Fort Campbell was the 50th Medical Company, where she quickly showed herself to be a motivated, knowledgeable soldier who wanted to be a flight medic in the unit. Most of her time in the unit since her December arrival was spent in Readiness Level Progression and in the Individual Readiness Training and Mission Rehearsal Exercise in preparation for the May 2001 deployment to Kosovo. SGT Roberts demonstrated the true spirit of DUSTOFF while accomplishing a very dangerous mission in Kosovo.

The mission occurred on 25 June 01 when the unit received a nine-line request to pick up a U.S. soldier whose lower right leg was severed by a landmine. Two reconnaissance soldiers were patrolling along a suspected weapons infiltration route when one of them stepped on a landmine. The DUSTOFF crew was off the ground in minutes and soon arrived at the location. The patient was on a narrow path along a steep, heavily forested ravine. The vegetation was so thick that when the soldier popped smoke, only a hint of smoke could be seen filtering through the trees. The pilots positioned the aircraft over the patient and prepared for a hoist extraction. The ground element notified the crew that the patient was in a possible minefield. SGT Roberts bravely placed her own life in danger as she was lowered 250 feet, carrying close to 80 pounds of gear through the trees. She hit the ground within ten feet of the patient. She quickly probed her way to the patient, assessed him and tightened a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. She reassured both soldiers and helped carry the wounded soldier to the Jungle Penetrator for extraction. Without regard to her personal safety, she sent both soldiers up the hoist prior to her extraction. SGT Cassini, the wounded soldier, lost the lower half of his leg; however, his life was saved due to the actions of SGT Roberts and her crew. Her efforts prevented further injury to the wounded soldier and avoided injury to the other.

Since SGT Roberts knew the terrain and saw the soldier’s sensitive items lying in the minefield, she was asked to return to the site to recover the sensitive items. Two hours after the mission, SGT Roberts returned to the site with an Explosive Ordinance Disposal soldier to recover the soldier’s weapon and other sensitive items lost in the minefield. She went back down into the minefield with the EOD soldier and pointed out where the sensitive items were. All the items were recovered rapidly as a result of her assistance.

A de-mining team later found fourteen various mines in the area and four anti-personnel mines within five meters of the accident site. She was submitted for the Soldier’s Medal. LTG Peake, the Army Surgeon General, later used her story in his opening remarks to the House Armed Services Committee. SGT Robert’s heroic performance of duty under extremely hazardous conditions eliminated the possibility of further harm to her fellow soldiers. Her courageous actions and selfless service represents the highest traditions of the DUSTOFF Spirit, and she is truly deserving of the DUSTOFF Crewmember of the year award. Congratulations SGT Roberts on a job well done. Whooah!