One of the first things you learn when you join the military is that you are always wearing the uniform. 

For the uninitiated, it could seem a little unfair. But for those who have taken the oath, always being in uniform isn’t a burden; it’s an honor. When you’re in the military, you share in the responsibility to keep our communities safe, to protect innocent Americans, and to use your training to come to the aid of those in need. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a salty Navy SEAL or a slick-sleeved private. It doesn’t matter if you’re stopping by the post office to check your mail, getting in some extra reps at the gym, or — as in the case of Sgt. Samuel Kosgei — out shopping with your family. 

On September 18th. Sgt. Kosgei was out with his family at a Walmart in Colorado Springs, Co when he heard screams. Without hesitation, Sgt. Kosgei told his family to stay put and he ran towards the commotion. 

“I heard a child screaming,” Sgt. Kosgei explained after the incident. “I told my wife to keep the kids where she was and [I] ran over to the aisle where I found an older woman lying on the ground.” 

Sgt. Kosgei immediately sprung into action. “She was not breathing so I told the other woman standing there to dial 911 while I cleared the area and assessed the situation,” he said.

Sgt. Kosgei, an Army Combat Medic serving with the Army’s World Class Athlete Program, drew deftly on his training. He gave the older woman CPR, was able to get her to breathe again, and brought her back to consciousness.

An ambulance arrived quickly on the scene and Sgt. Kosgei waited with the woman while they checked her vitals and gathered her personal information. Only after she was in the care of the paramedics did Sgt. Kosgei go back to his family. 

combat medic
Sgt. Samuel Kosgei, U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program medic and former WCAP marathon runner, at the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials February 2020. (Maj. Nathaniel Garcia. )

According to the report shared by the U.S. Army. Sgt. Kosgei attributed his quick action to his training as an Army medic.

“I am proud to be a medic and that applies 24/7,” said Kosgei. “I have the skills and responsibility to help others, whether they are a Soldier or a civilian. I am glad I was there to help.”

As if this wasn’t enough, Sgt. Kosgei never brought the incident up to his colleagues until a week later when it came up in casual conversation. His supervisor was stunned and recommended him for commendation. 

“Kosgei is extremely humble, and I did not hear about this until his supervisor submitted him for an award,” said WCAP Commander Cpt. Bryce Livingston. “I was shocked to find out, but not surprised, because that is just the kind of person Sgt. Kosgei is. He is a leader, and I could always count on him to get tasks done.”

Sgt. Kosgei’s actions are a strong reminder that our military isn’t just “over there,” but alongside and among us. Ever watching, ever serving.