Most Decorated Doctor of Iraq War: Dr. Richard Jadick

Saved Over 30 Lives in One Battle

Newsweek Talks to Four Marines Injured in Iraq: 'I Had a Lot to be Thankful

For, Considering How Badly I Was Hit, I Feel Great'

Mar 12, 2006, 00:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Richard Jadick is considered the Iraq
 war's most decorated doctor. His commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mark Winn,
 estimated that without Jadick at the front, the Marines would have lost an
 additional 30 men. "I have never seen a doctor display the kind of courage and
 bravery that Rich did during Fallujah," Winn tells Newsweek.  In the March 20
 cover story, "Hero M.D." (on newsstands Monday, March 13), Washington
 Correspondent Pat Wingert and Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas
 reconstruct the story of how Richard Jadick-who left a sedate practice for the
 front lines of Fallujah and a horror show few doctors ever see-earned his
 Bronze Star.
     Jadick was looking forward to leading a comfortable life as what he called
 a "gentleman urologist." But because of an acute doctor shortage, Jadick, a
 senior medical officer, volunteered his services. In the summer of 2004,
 Commander Jadick shipped out for Fallujah. In Sunni territory west of Baghdad,
 the city seethed with insurgents. Jihadists had strung up the burned bodies of
 American contractors in the spring of 2004, and chaos had reigned ever since,
 writes Newsweek. On the plane, he sat behind a gunnery staff sergeant named
 Ryan P. Shane. A 250-pound weight-lifter, the massive Shane turned in his seat
 to look at Jadick. Slowly taking the measure of the 5'10, 200-pound Jadick,
 the gunnery sergeant said, "So you're our new surgeon. That's one job I
 wouldn't want to have with the place where we're going." That night, Jadick e-
 mailed his wife, "What have I gotten myself into?"
     Jadick recalls peering out at the first real fire fight of his life. There
 were not two wounded men, but seven. Attending medical school on a Navy
 scholarship, he had never seen or experienced real war-the kind of urban
 combat that can leave 30 to 40 percent of a unit wounded or dead. "I can't
 tell you how scared I was," he tells Newsweek. "My legs wanted to stay in that
 vehicle, but I had to get off. I wanted to go back into that vehicle and lie
 under something and cry. I felt like a coward. I felt like it took me hours to
 make the decision to go."
     Afraid of dying, more afraid of failing his comrades, he felt the need to
 get still closer to the battle. In effect, Jadick wanted to set up an
 emergency room in the middle of the battlefield (this was very rare for a
 doctor to be so far forward). Loading up two armored ambulances, he convoyed
 into the city in the dead of night to establish an aid station in the prayer
 room of an old government building. For 11 days, Jadick worked night and day
 at his forward aid station. The casualty runs began arriving in the morning,
 depositing their grisly cargoes. Kneeling over a wounded Marine, Jadick was
 startled to see a muzzle flash from a water tower about 50 yards away. He
 could clearly see a sniper, his face wrapped in cloth. For a moment, Jadick,
 the former Marine captain, replaced Jadick, the Navy doctor. A truckload of
 Marines had just pulled up. "Please go kill that guy," said Jadick, and their
 commander sent them out to silence the man. Jadick had a fleeting struggle
 with the Hippocratic Oath ("Do no harm") but thought, "at some point, it's
 either kill or be killed."
     By mid-December, Fallujah was secured. It had been the worst urban
 fighting involving Americans since Vietnam. By mid-January, Jadick was home
 and was awarded a Bronze Star with a Combat V for valor. (The medal, pinned
 onto Jadick in January, is the only Combat V awarded a Navy doctor thus far in
 the Iraq war.) Jadick still owes the Navy a couple of years as a doctor.
 "Being a battalion surgeon is one of the greatest jobs there is," he says, in
 his low-key way. "So, sure, I would do it again, yeah."
     Also as part of the cover package, General Editor Jonathan Darman, Pat
 Wingert, Los Angeles Correspondent Andrew Murr, and National Correspondent
 Martha Brant talk to four of the injured Marines treated by Jadick in
 Fallujah, update their progress and discuss what's next for them now that
 they've returned from Iraq. Ryan P. Shane, one of the Marines, tells Newsweek,
 "I was in the infantry. I knew what could happen ...  I decided that there
 were a lot of guys who were worse off than me, and I had a lot to be thankful
 for. Considering how badly I was hit, I feel great."
   (Read entire cover package at Click "Pressroom" for news
     Dr. Richard Jadick:
     Ryan P. Shane:
     Paul Volpe:
     Matthew Palacios:
     Jacob Knospler:

SOURCE Newsweek