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(May 2006)

Rota-based doctor gets Bronze Star for work in Iraq

By Jason Chudy, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Tuesday, May 9, 2006


Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, family physician Dr. (Cmdr.) Bryan Schumacher was recently presented a Bronze Star Medal for a six-month deployment to Iraq from October 2004 to March 2005.

The medal was presented for Schumacher's service in coordinating medical treatment and support services for Marines, soldiers and civilians during the deployment, which included the November 2004 Battle of Fallujah and the January 2005 nationwide elections.

While much of his duties were administrative or logistical in nature, the Kansas City, Mo., native did treat casualties from roadside bombs and mortar attacks.

'He was in harm's way an awful lot,' explained Dr. (Capt.) Jonathan Cutting, the Rota hospital commander. 'He made a big difference to a huge number of Marines.'

During one mission, Schumacher was riding with 1st Marine Division commander Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski outside of Fallujah when a Humvee two positions ahead of theirs was hit by a roadside bomb, wounding the turret gunner.

'Heck, I was right there,' he said. 'He was hit in the head with a piece of shrapnel.'

Schumacher, who rendered aid to the Marine, said he believes his time in Iraq makes him a better doctor.

'Without a doubt,' said Schumacher. 'It gave me a broad view of the world and types of people out there.'

Cutting agreed.

'His experience made him a more competent, diverse physician and more diverse officer,' he said.