Broken Bow High School graduate, National Guard soldier, PFC Brad Wardyn currently calls Mosul, Iraq, home. He’s a medic with the 2-135th GSAB stationed out of Lincoln.
“It is my job to render the needed aid while an injured soldier is transported to a hospital,” said Wardyn. He was back in Broken Bow this week visiting family for ‘mid tour’ break.
In 2008, as a high school senior he enlisted for the money, he hates now to admit. He wanted the funds to help pay for college. He says things have changed, now he says he intends to stay for the mission.
The training was good, and he found it was something he could do.
He’s lucky he says, to have his current assignment.
“It is something you can strive for, and apply for, but there also has to be an opening.”
He flies with a four-man crew on the Black Hawk helicopter. There are two pilots, a load master, and a medic. He’s the medic.
“It’s like a taxi service with medical care,” he said.
What he’s learned most, he said, in addition to the medical training, is to handle different kinds of stress, and how to rely on others more than you normally do.
“It astonishes me how much he’s learned about the medical field. All of this has made me proud,” said Cindy Wardyn, Brad’s mom.
The service provides three levels of EMT training, followed by training with the unit. When the unit is not actively on a mission, education opportunities continue.
Scheduling is usually 48 hours on and 24-48 hours off. When the call comes through, the Black Hawk has to be airborne within 10 minutes. They like it to be within as little time as possible.
“You could be in the shower, or asleep ... everyone scrambles,” he said.
Back in January, during a call home, Brad’s mom asked if there was anything he might want. He told her the main thing he could think of was some coffee.
“You would be surprised how nice it is when you have a rough night either sleeping or pulling duty and to wake up to a nice cup of coffee and a shower,” Brad said in a thank you letter he sent back home.
What Brad’s mom did was call Becky Holcomb (Holcomb’s Drug Store Becky) to see if they might have some expired coffee from the shop.
“And the next day she started a coffee drive,” she said. Over 100 pounds of coffee, plus the money for postage, was donated.
“I never would have thought that when I asked my mom for a simple item like coffee I would get such a great turnout from my town,” wrote Brad.
“It is really nice to have your small town stand behind, and not forget the men and women who came from their town and who are now protecting our freedoms. I don’t know all who were involved, but I would like to say a special thank you to Becky.”
It’s more than the coffee, it is also the homemade cookies and care boxes, and the Girl Scout cookies, the deer salami, and the crackers and cheese ... Brad added.
Brad noted that he believes, when the unit is deployed, it is stressful for the families back home.
“We know what is going on, we have a routine, and the men and women in the unit have each other.”