Combat Medic and Paratrooper
Leon Jedziniak was a replacement medic for A Company, 501st PIR, 101st Airborne Division. On December 18, 1944, he arrived in Bastogne, Belgium and dug in. The requirements for being a medic were not strict and you didn't have to know much. "There’s only one thing you need to remember," he was told, "Never put the tourniquet around the neck." His first day of action, after going to retrieve a wounded man and nearly getting killed himself, the priest who had accompanied him offered to put him in for the Silver Star. The next day the priest was captured by the Germans and didn't see him again for 31 years. No Silver Star, but he would receive multiple Bronze Stars for his courageous actions, as well as a purple heart. The role of the combat medic in WWII was vital. So many veterans have told us that for them, the true heroes were the medics. Without their bravery and total disregarded of self, many many lives would have been unnecessarily lost. It is always a great honor to meet one of these brave men who served their country and fellow soldiers so well.