Newsweek‘s cover story this week profiles a Navy doctor who has been awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for valor for his service in the Battle for Fallujah. This high-ranking surgeon volunteered to be a battalion surgeon because there was no one else available, and he ended up in the worst fighting Fallujah in 2004. He decided to set up his battalion aid station right in the middle of the fighting instead of the usual nice, safe rear area because he wanted to be as close to the wounded Marines as possible and no one helicopter medical evacs were going to be allowed.
By mid-December, Fallujah was secured. It had been the worst urban fighting involving Americans since Vietnam. At least 53 Marines and Navy SEALs died, as did something like 1,600 insurgents. By mid-January, Jadick was home: there was an opening for a urology resident at the Medical College of Georgia. Jadick was eager to see his baby daughter and wife.
Jadick was awarded a Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor. (The medal, pinned onto Jadick in January, is the only Combat V awarded a Navy doctor thus far in the Iraq war.) His commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mark Winn, estimated that without Jadick at the front, the Marines would have lost an additional 30 men. Of the hundreds of men treated by Jadick, only one died after reaching a hospital. “I have never seen a doctor display the kind of courage and bravery that Rich did during Fallujah,” said Winn. Jadick still owes the Navy a couple of years as a doctor. He’s thinking of staying in beyond that. “Being a battalion surgeon is one of the greatest jobs there is,” he says, in his low-key way. “So, sure, I would do it again, yeah.”
Never mind the Bronze Star, he should be given the Navy Cross.