Two Rangers up for valor awards after using new life-saving battlefield blood donor technique

January 24 

The 75th Ranger Regiment is starting to use a new program to administer life-saving warm, fresh blood to wounded troops in dire moments — an innovative program the regiment says could be replicated with other combat units.

Two Rangers who used the technique in combat for the first time last summer are up for valor awards, regiment spokesperson Tracy A. Bailey told Army Times.

By tracking universal blood donors within the regiment, Ranger medics were able to call on volunteers to provide huge quantities of blood in a pinch. The technique was chronicled by the regiment’s public affairs department in a Jan. 13 news release.

It was used in combat last summer in Wardak province, Afghanistan during a helicopter-borne night raid. Two Ranger medics, Staff Sgt. Charles Bowen and Sgt. Ty Able, from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, managed to save multiple lives that night, according to the 75th Ranger Regiment.

“The valor awards for SSG Bowen and SGT Able are still making their way through the awards board process,” Bailey said. “1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment has an awards ceremony scheduled for March 26. I won’t know until we are closer to this date what awards they will receive for their heroic actions.”

During the summertime raid, the Rangers took AK-47 and PK machine gun fire from a target compound. As they maneuvered on the building, an explosion rocked the soldiers, wounding three.

In the final hours of the Army Ranger’s life, he engaged al-Qaida fighters in close combat but that’s not what killed him.

Bowen and Able then grabbed the wounded Rangers and brought them out of the breach to a safe area. The casualties were hit in the legs and arms, and one had a gaping hole in his chest. The Ranger medics conducted the usual mix of life-saving measures, including applying tourniquets, a needle chest decompression, intravenous lines and administering tranexamic acid, which helps control hemorrhaging.