National Guard Soldier from Brookfield recognized for heroism, helping young mother after crash

BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- Sgt. Michael Black, a combat medic in the Wisconsin Army National Guard from Brookfield, Wisconsin, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for providing lifesaving medical care to a young mother involved in a serious auto accident. He is one of three currently serving Wisconsin National Guard members to be awarded this medal.

The Soldier's Medal is approved by the President of the United States and is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who distinguish themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy.

On January 5th, 2013, Black and two other Soldiers from the Plymouth, Wisconsin-based Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery were conducting pre-deployment training near White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico when they came across the scene of a single-vehicle accident.

"The passenger was in rough shape when we arrived," Black explained. "The entire passenger side of the vehicle had been torn away."

Black grabbed his medical aid bag from his vehicle and rendered medical assistance to the female passenger who had sustained two broken legs, four cracked ribs, and a cracked sternum. He applied a tourniquet to a severed femoral artery caused by a compound open fracture of her right femur and treated the victim for shock until paramedics arrived.

Black, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, received the Soldier's Medal during a formal ceremony held at the Appleton armory on December 7th, which his comrades, family, community members and Wisconsin Army National Guard leadership attended.

Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, the Wisconsin Army National Guard's top officer, had the honor of presenting the medal.

"I couldn't be prouder of Sgt. Black for his actions," Anderson said. "He represents the caliber and quality of the types of Soldiers we have within our formations. His willingness to put himself in a potentially life-threatening situation to render aid to someone he didn't know at all demonstrated his high level of training and character."

When asked for his thoughts regarding being awarded the Soldier's Medal for his actions, Black humbly responded, "It's not something that I expected, but it's a definite honor to be recognized in this way."

Black credited his combat medic training with being prepared to respond to an unexpected emergency.

"We train to address combat and traumatic injuries, so an event like this obviously presented traumatic injuries, which fortunately I was able to address in the proper manner," he said.

After the incident, Black didn't even mention his heroic actions to his mother, Linda.

"I didn't even know that this event had occurred until long after it happened and one of his friends told me," Linda said.

"I am extremely proud of Mike and I'm honored that he was honored," she continued. "Especially on the day that commemorates Pearl Harbor. I think it's a wonderful time to make the presentation. It's great that in today's society people are still joining the military and feel such allegiance to their country. I am so proud."