Staff Sergeant Nick Lavery is a Boston College High School graduate from the University of Massachusetts. At 6 feet 5 inches tall, Lavery easily fills doorways with his presence. Recently, the 32-year-old staff sergeant, who is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, visited his family to accept the James E. Cotter Courage award from BC High. In addition to the James E. Cotter Courage Award, Lavery has a few other medals to his name including a Bronze Star with Valor, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts.
Nick Lavery is Courageous and Selfless
When Lavery speaks of his service in the Army Special Forces, which he joined right after college in 2007, everyone listens. Lavery’s first deployment was to Afghanistan in 2011. In the fall of 2012, his team traveled to Wardak, which was a hotspot for fighting. In October of 2012, Lavery took shrapnel to the shoulder from a rocket-propelled grenade. According to Lavery, the grenade left a lemon-sized hole in his shoulder, but he refused to be evacuated. Instead, he plugged the hole with gauze and was eventually sent to Bagram Air Base to be treated for his wounds.
Lavery is Injured Again in November 2012
In November 2012, Lavery was riding in a truck when another truck in his unit was hit by a roadside bomb. Despite the fact that enemies were firing at the truck, Lavery ran to the aid of his comrades. In fact, Lavery neutralized two shooters and took after a third that tried to flee. As Lavery chased the third shooter, he was hit by a bullet…in the face. Knowing that his brothers in arms were in trouble, Lavery ran to the truck that was hit. The truck was on fire and Lavery was certain the members of his unit were dead, but he searched anyways. Lavery was astonished to find Captain Nieman in the rubble of the bombing and awake. Others in the truck were blown out of the truck, but also survived the bombing. Nieman’s legs were mangled, he had a severed artery in his arm, and ammunition in the truck started going off because of the heat from the fire, but Lavery didn’t give up and rescued the Captain. Eventually, Captain Nieman lost the lower half of his right leg because of injuries, but he credits Nick Lavery with saving his life. At 6 feet 6 inches tall and a good 370 lbs. with all his gear on, Nick Lavery was the only person that was big enough and strong enough to get the injured Captain out of the burning truck.
Lavery Lost Part of His Right Leg in March 2013
When a young soldier froze after an Afghan police officer opened fire with a machine gun, Lavery put himself between the teenage soldier and the shooter. Lavery tackled the young soldier and dragged him behind a truck for cover. At this time, Lavery was shot in the legs several times and his femoral artery was severed. Lavery knew he would be dead in minutes if he didn’t stop the bleeding, so he grabbed a tourniquet and tied himself off. Some of Lavery’s team was killed, including the person that had taken over for the injured Captain Nieman. Eventually, about an hour after the attack, a helicopter arrived and Lavery was transported for medical care.
Struggling to Survive
When Lavery arrived at the Army base, his body began to shut down. Further investigation into his situation revealed that Lavery had been given six units of the wrong blood type. Lavery’s blood type was listed on his boots, uniform stickers, and dog tags, but the mistake was still made. After 20 surgeries, a full blood transfusion and transfer to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Lavery was discharged and began his rehab with a prosthetic leg.
Medical Retirement Not an Option for American Hero
After sustaining such serious injuries, Lavery was offered medical retirement, but said no. Instead, he is the tactical combat instructor at Fort Bragg. Here, Lavery works with other soldiers and continues to train so he can someday return to combat.
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