Among other tasks, Special Forces soldiers are experts at winning people’s hearts and minds. This skillset is particularly useful in a counterinsurgency context. It also comes in handy in other circumstances. For the past few years, the Green Berets of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group—which is forward-based in Germany—have been saving the lives of civilians.
Last December, a middle-aged German woman collapsed in the food court of Patch Barracks. Two Special Forces soldiers, who were having their lunch, jumped in to help. They found her unresponsive and without a pulse. Performing intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), they managed to revive and stabilize her until the local emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene. Because of their prompt and decisive actions, the woman survived.
But this hasn’t been the only occasion where Green Berets have stepped in during an emergency and provided life-saving treatment. Last fall, a Green Beret was driving on a road close to Panzer Kaserne, a U.S. military installation close to Stuttgart where the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group is based. He saw a bunch of people standing on the shoulder of the road, hovering over a woman who was lying on the pavement. He jumped out of his car and sprinted toward the unresponsive woman. After a quick assessment, he discovered that she wasn’t breathing. He immediately began performing CPR. After a few tense moments, the woman came back to life.
Speaking of the incident, the Green Beret said, “I felt it was the right thing to do, [although] the language barrier made it hard to determine exactly what was going on.”
The 10th SFG Green Berets have had a long history of treating locals. In the summer of 2017, a Special Forces operator was participating in a 10-kilometer obstacle race. He was off duty and accompanied by his family. Minutes after the race had begun, a German participant collapsed on the road. Without hesitating, the Green Beret took charge of the situation. He began aggressive CPR until a team of German first responders arrived. He then provided coordination with the local authorities until a medical helicopter arrived and evacuated the patient. Because of the American soldier’s expert medical training and quick actions, the German runner survived the ordeal.
“I was conducting a 10k obstacle race near Schwabisch Hall with my children [and] I felt it was my obligation to help others in need,” said the Green Beret.
Commenting on the life-saving actions of his men, the command sergeant major of the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group said, “Like all soldiers, our special operators are highly trained and ready to respond in times of need—whether that is deployed forward in service to their nation, or here within the Stuttgart community alongside our Deutschen Nachbaren [German neighbors]. Germany is our home and we’re proud to be a part of this community.”