While deployed in Poland, 21-year old Army Specialist Ezra Maes was sleeping with his crew in a tank when the the parking brake failed and the tank rolled downhill and crashed at about 90 mph. The gunner was bleeding out from a cut on her thigh. The driver was pinned with a broken back. Spc. Maes’ leg was caught and no one knew their tank was down there.
"I pushed and pulled at my leg as hard as I could to get loose and felt a sharp tear," Maes said. "I thought I had dislodged my leg, but when I moved away, my leg was completely gone." Freed from the pressure of the turret, the blood poured out of his wound at an alarming rate, but with other lives on the line, Maes pushed his panic and any thought of pain aside. He pulled himself up and into the back of the tank to grab a tourniquet from the medical kit. Halfway there, he began to feel lightheaded from the blood loss.
"I knew I was going into shock," he said. "All I could think about was no one knows we're down here. Either I step up or we all die." Now Army Spc. Maes is being hailed as a hero for saving his crewmates.