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DHA Civilian Honored as an ‘Angel of the Battlefield’

Image of Two men shake hands while a third poses alongside them. Retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. William D. French, president and chief executive officer of the Armed Services YMCA, and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, director of DHA, present an Armed Services YMCA 2022 Angels of the Battlefield Award to Patrick Jacobs, lead paramedic with the 96th Medical Group at Eglin Air Force Base, on Nov. 17 in Arlington, Virginia. The 16th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala honored medics, corpsmen, and pararescuemen who demonstrated extraordinary courage while administering life-saving medical treatment and trauma care on and off the battlefield. Jacobs is the first DHA civilian employee to be presented with the award. (Photo: Robert Hammer, MHS Communications)

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Patrick Jacobs has been named a recipient of the 2022 Armed Services YMCA Angels of the Battlefield Award for his selfless actions during a vehicle accident and years of dedication to his profession.

Jacobs, lead paramedic with the 96th Medical Group, Eglin Air Force Base, becomes the first Defense Health Agency civilian employee to receive the award. “It’s an honor and unexpected,” said Jacobs. “I was really surprised.”

He was one of six recipients presented with the award at the 16th Annual Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala held in Arlington, Virginia on Nov. 17.

“I’m thrilled that we’re able to recognize the exceptional men and women who exemplify the best in our Military Health System,” U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, director of DHA. About 40% of 140,000 personnel in the Military Health System are civilian employees, “an essential element of our system,” said Place. “The Civilian Angel of the Battlefield is a great example of the type of public servants we find in our unique system.”

Commitment to Career Led to Honor

Earlier this year, Jacobs was finishing a 12-hour shift at the hospital when an emergency call came in. Knowing that there was a shortage of personnel, he volunteered to respond. “We were between shifts, and my replacement hadn’t arrived yet, so I responded,” said Jacobs. “It sounded like it was bad.”

When he arrived on scene, he found an injured law enforcement officer and his working dog. He proceeded to provide emergency care to the officer, including an emergent needle decompression, spinal stabilization, and intravenous access for pain management. Upon transferring the officer for transport, he switched his focus to occupants of the other vehicle.

The family was on their way home from dropping off their father, a soldier, off for deployment.

The mother was unconscious, and their four children were uninjured. He stabilized the mother for transportation.

“This is where you’d think this heroic story ends,” said Place. “But not for Patrick, or his family.”

Jacobs called his wife, Heather, from his vehicle and asked her to drive to the emergency room, a 45-minute drive from their home, to sit with the children while their mother was treated. She’s a teacher and said, “helping kids is in my nature. I didn’t think twice.”

Place said, “Your family’s dedication to our and your community resulted in a positive outcome for everyone involved.”

He was also praised for his everyday duties, and his dedication to training hundreds of personnel a year. “He trains nearly 300 students a year in the Aerospace Medical Service Apprentice program,” said Place. “He’s critical to the success of the Air Force’s third largest medical training platform.”

In the past year, Jacobs has fielded 92 emergency medical services responses, 38 intra-facility transfers, and aided six support missions, including volunteering to deploy for the Unaccompanied Refuge Minors Program to provide medical support, teaching developmental and social skills to 43 children. “It’s not typical for civilians to deploy in a military medical capacity, but by now I think we all know that Mr. Jacobs isn’t typical,” said Place.

“This paramedic seems intent on trying to set a new standard. It takes a deep well of character to make some of the choices Mr. Jacobs has made in his career,” said Place.

Having worked in emergency services for over 30 years, Jacobs said, “I love being a paramedic, and have enjoyed every minute of it. It’s just in me.”

The Angels of the Battlefield Award was created to honor military medical personnel and first responders for their life-saving medical treatment and trauma care of service members, partner forces, and civilians at home and abroad. The Angels of the Battlefield Awards Gala is the only event that recognizes the frontline actions of military medical personnel. Six “angels,” representing each of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Services, are awarded for their selfless courage and commitment to saving lives. 

Additional recipients of the award included:

  • U.S. Army Sgt. Audriana Chenault, from Alamogordo, New Mexico, and a combat medic with the 2-501 PIR, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
  • U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brayden Benson, from North Kansas City, Missouri, who worked with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. 
  • U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Justin Fish, from Vacaville, California. Fish is with the Directorate for Administration and serves as command career counselor at Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms.
  • U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jasmine Krapf, a respiratory care practitioner with the 60th Surgical Operations Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Christian Ortega-Santiago, from Levittown, Puerto Rico, is a health services technician with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Clinic.

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