Story by: Lt. Col. Jennifer J. Bocanegra
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), TX- This afternoon three soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division received the Life Saving award from the Bell County Sheriff’s Department for their timely actions, which led to saving the life of a fellow service member attempting to commit suicide.
During the ceremony held at Howze Theater on post, leaders from 2-12 CAV and the Bell County Sheriff’s Department recounted the events from June 19th, highlighting the selfless actions of the three noncommissioned officers being honored.
In his remarks, the 2-12 CAV operations sergeant major, U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Jerry A. Long described his definition of heroism comparing the actions of U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Ketch, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Gulczynski and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Corey Clark as heroic saying, “The Army attempts to breed camaraderie and bravery, and these three answered the call for a fellow soldier in need. They saved their teammate, even while putting their own lives in peril…they had built so much trust within their team and the family members within their sphere of influence, that when things went wrong with one of their teammates, the family knew who to call.”
On the evening of June 19th, following a unit BBQ, deputies from Bell County, Texas received reports of a service member threatening to take his own life. As deputies arrived on scene, they were joined by members of the victim’s unit, Ketch, Gulczynski and Clark, all who immediately began working together to coach their teammate off of a ledge and back to safety.
“It is my opinion that the individuals involved in this incident demonstrated an unmatched amount of empathy and concern for their fellow soldier in crisis,” said Bell County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Christopher M. Wilcox. “Their efforts and quick actions contributed to the successful outcome of the incident and help avert a tragic situation.
All three awardees are infantry noncommissioned officers with a range of leadership experiences at the squad and platoon-level. Both Clark and Ketch received formal military training on suicide intervention and building and maintaining resiliency.
“We are extremely proud of these three NCOs who took immediate steps to save the life of a teammate. As we focus on placing people first, mid-level leaders like Sergeant 1st Class Ketch, Staff Sgt. Gulczynski and Staff Sgt. Clark set the example of implementing a support system to care for soldiers within our formation,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Damasio Davila, battalion commander, 2-12 CAV.
Following the main award ceremony, 2-12 CAV leaders presented the three NCOs with Army Achievement Medals and Command Sgt. Maj. Hall, 1 ABCT brigade command sergeant major, issued coins recognizing the soldiers for their life-saving actions on June 19th.
The Life Saving Award is awarded by the Sheriff Department for saving a human life.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Corey A. Clark Jr., U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Z. Gulczynski and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas A. Ketch (left to right) stand on stage at Howze Theater after receiving the Life Saving award from Bell Country Sheriff’s Department for their heroic actions on June 19, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by: Private 1st Class Cheyne Hanoski, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs)