Staff Sgt. Brian Guzman is the kind of guy who’d rather sit at the back of the room than be on a stage. He joined Army Special Forces to let his work speak for itself, not to get the public’s admiration.
He did his job so well – saving wounded comrades in combat and nurturing ties to cultivate rural medical clinics in Afghanistan – that he had to sit still, grin and accept a heap of praise Monday when he received honors as the Army’s Special Forces medic of the year.
“I didn’t like it one bit,” the Lacey resident laughed, describing a ceremony in which he received two medals and a pack of Army command coins.
Guzman, 35, stood out among the ranks of Army Green Berets across the country this year. The Army said he showed valor under fire in enemy engagements during his 2010-11 deployment to Afghanistan as well as a knack for navigating Afghan government bureaucracy to open clinics in the country’s Uruzgan province.
Those talents helped the Special Operators around him perform at their best, said senior Army officers.
“When you have a superior medic on your team like Sgt. Guzman, that exponentially lifts the team because they knew he improves their chances of survival,” said Col. Max Carpenter, deputy commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 1st Special Forces Group.