Australian and New Zealand personnel deployed to Task Group Taji 10 (TGT-X) were exposed to enemy rocket fire on 11 and 14 March 2020. Defence reports that, in the heat of the moment, two ADF medics displayed significant courage.
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The blasts led to the deaths of three coalition members, as well as multiple injuries. Australian Army medics Corporal Sarah Nixon and Corporal Ashlee Liversedge recall the events of the rocket attacks on one of the nights.
“We heard a round hit close. It felt like it was just 50 metres away – it was loud, the building shook, we hit the ground and put on our body armour,” CPL Nixon said.
“Other camp Taji medical staff ran in and said to expect casualties.”
Accounts report that Corporals Nixon and Liversedge quickly ran to a nearby tent to grab medical stores and prepare the resuscitation room while rockets continued to hit Camp Taji. Over the next few hours, casualties came through the tent, with both corporals providing critical medical support to the wounded.
“Corporal Nixon and Corporal Liversedge showed exceptional care and courage during both attacks," Defence said in a release.
CPL Liversedge said, “Sarah and I were part of a team that treated the significant injuries of patients as they came through the tent.
“The whole team played an integral role providing medical assistance to casualties in times of increased threat.
“The gravity of the situation was felt when our first patient arrived and it was one of our coalition medics.”
For almost two hours, the casualty numbers grew and medical staff prioritised treatment based on those with major injuries, minor shrapnel wounds and concussions.
TGT-X medical staff worked through the night to treat the wounded coalition personnel, a few of which had to be evacuated by helicopter for further treatment in Baghdad.
TGT-X Commander Colonel Nick Foxall praised the heroism of CPL Nixon and CPL Liversedge following the attacks.
“Corporal Nixon and Corporal Liversedge showed exceptional care and courage during both attacks. The actions of these two soldiers almost certainly saved the lives of the injured coalition members,” he said.
“They had only been in-country for a short time when they were called upon to do their job, and in doing so displayed nothing but the highest of values when representing the Australian and New Zealand Task Group.”