Dear friends! We present you a history of Anastasia Carr, who was awarded a “Battle Brotherhood” prize in Los Angeles on November 1, year 2015.
Project “Battle Brotherhood” Award was initiated, and claims to be an annual celebration. As planned by organizers, idea of of the prize should be an analog of “Nobel Peace Prize” and will be awarded not only to military or politician persons, but also to the people of peaceful professions: doctors, rescue workers, firefighters. The main criteria for selection of candidates will be – outstanding, noble, heroic act, which was honored or undervalued by society.
My name is Anastasia Carr
I joined the United States Army 5 days after my 18th birthday. I joined because I felt a calling to help others, as a child I always wanted to be a doctor, and felt that the Army would be a good stepping stone to help me achieve my goals and to immerse myself in the medical field. I completed my basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and was sent to Fort Sam Houston, Texas to complete my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) as a Combat Medic.
In AIT, I became a certified EMT and learned how to treat life threatening combat wounds. After 5 months of training, I was sent to my duty station and new home, Fort Polk, Louisiana. I was assigned to the 115th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) which was getting ready for a deployment to Iraq. While getting ready, we did numerous “field” assignments, where we were taught how to set up our hospital and numerous other aspects of combat life that we hadn’t trained for before. Our unit deployed to Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq in late July 2004, a few weeks after my 19th birthday.
When we arrived in Iraq, I immediately began working in the Emergency Room of the existing clinic while many in our unit began building our 52 bed hospital in the warehouse next door. Our goal while in Iraq was to provide medical care to all who needed it (civilians and military), while also providing care to those who were detained at the facility. As the first CSH of our kind, we created the standard operating procedure that is currently being used in the Middle East for other combat support hospitals. Once our hospital was finished, I was chosen to become the tour guide and representative to show dignitaries our new facility.
I had the honor of showing this facility to many people, including: Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley, Dick Cheney, Toby Keith, Tom Brokaw, and many others. Although I was in charge of giving these tours, I was assigned to work in the detainee camps. For the first few months, our mission was to give every detainee a physical, start a chart on them, and we would do a sick call once a day (where we could with help acute problems and put in referrals for severe problems) and medication pass twice daily. We started a medical system from scratch. I worked numerous different camps, and after we had set up our new system, I would work on the wound care team in between sick call and medication passes. We worked 16 hour days the entire deployment. On April 2nd, 2005, I was walking back to our dispensary after evening medication pass when our Forward Operating Base was attacked in what is now called the Battle of Abu Ghraib.
As I was running to a bunker, an RPG landed 6 feet from me and blew me into the side of a bunker, causing immense damage to the muscles and ligaments of my ankle, along with smoke inhalation injuries, and blast injuries. After I came to my senses, I evaluated the MP’s who had collected to our area and saw a detainee outside of the bunker who was badly injured. I crawled out and dragged him into the bunker with me, where I saw that his left leg had a through and through wound from the fin of the RPG that had landed. With only the supplies I had on me (scissors and a field dressing), I created a pressure dressing to stop his bleeding. I was later told that my pressure dressing not only saved his life, but his leg as well. After the attack, I was having a difficult time breathing, and the doctor who worked with us in the camp examined me and sent me to the hospital immediately.
I was hospitalized for 3 days at our CSH, and put on light duty for the rest of the deployment. The extent of my ankle injury was unknown because we only had x-ray, and the doctors assumed it was a grade 3 sprain, but when I returned is when they realized that I had torn 3 tendons and the ligament deep within my ankle. I had two reconstructive ankle surgeries, with the second they used screws to hold the tendons in place. After a year of physical therapy, the Army decided to Medically Discharge me because at the time I could not complete the physical needs of a medic. After the military, I was diagnosed with Nerve Encroachment, which causes much of my pain and disability in my ankle.
Today I am a full time student at Florida State College of Jacksonville, where I am getting my Bachelors of Science in Nursing and I am hoping to continue on to become a Nurse Practitioner. I am a wife and a mother to 3 beautiful children, and I thank God daily for saving my life that night so that I can continue to help others.
I would like to say thank you for awarding me with the Battle Brotherhood Award.
It is such an honor, and I am so humbled and grateful for everyone who supports this amazing organization.