SSG Matthew A. Decker
Company F, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment
Fort Knox, Kentucky
2016 Army Aviation DUSTOFF Flight Medic of the Year Award
Sponsored by Air Methods Corporation
On 5 January 2016, SSG Decker was acting as the lead flight medic in response to an urgent MEDEVAC in the Helmand province, Afghanistan. Enroute to the point-of-injury the ground forces reported taking fire to the north and Air Weapons Team advised landing zone might not be secure. The crew decided to land, but upon landing the aircraft struck a wall and performed an emergency engine shutdown. SSG Decker immediately began treating the urgent patient who sustained a gunshot wound to the right thigh and continued to treat the patient for more than 17 hours during recovery efforts, subsequently saving the patient’s leg and life. SSG Decker acted as the lead medic for a total of 6 urgent patients, one of whom died from a gunshot wound to the head after more than four hours of medical care. He continued providing medical care, using all available resources from the fallen angel aircraft and personal aid bag through sustained effective small arms fire, repeated mortar attacks and several failed recovery and resupply attempts. SSG Decker’s actions are the epitome of the ongoing Dedicated Unhesitating Service To Our Fighting Forces (DUSTOFF) legacy.