PFC JOSEPH J. CICCHETTI
Co, A, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division
South Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands
9 February 1945
PFC Cicchetti was with troops held in reserve during an operation against a well entrenched Japanese force holding the Manila Gas works, having converted the industrial site into a hardened fortress.
The Imperial Army positions were inflicting heavy casualties on American forces in the area.
A chorus of “MEDIC” rang across the battlefield as allied casualties mounted…. Pfc. Cicchetti went into action.
Heavy machine gun, Mortars and small arms fire made it almost impossible for Medics and stretcher bearers to get to the wounded.
Cicchetti, organized and lead a litter team recovering wounded soldiers from the battlefield for over 4-hours. Recovering the wounded involved traversing a 400-yard open area full of impact craters and under heavy enemy machinegun and mortar fire – both directions.
The enemy discovered the route Cicchetti’s men were using to remove wounded from the battlefield and deployed a machinegun crew to block it. Pfc. Cicchetti deliberately exposed himself to draw the automatic fire as a diversion so his men could get through with the wounded soldier they were carrying.
One round hit and destroyed his weapon, but did not hit Cicchetti. The rest of the litter team was able to cross while the enemy machinegun was targeting Cicchetti.
On a subsequent crossing, the young Medic spotted a group of wounded Americans pinned down about 100-yards to his flank. Cicchetti ran through a hail of enemy lead to get to his patients. He was wounded in the head as he approached the wounded men, and with complete disregard to the gaping hole in his skull, exposing his brain, he continued to render medical aid, then picked up the most seriously wounded and carried him on his back to safety where he immediately collapsed and died.
Cicchetti is personally credited with saving the lives of 14 of his brothers.
If you have never known one, All combat medics have a couple of things in common – I mean other than being about a ½ a reticle off.
They all experience a transformation at the first call of – “Medic.” Right before your eyes, that mere Medical Aidman becomes the superhuman “DOC.” While everyone is looking for cover DOC will always move forward, and they ALL live by the 2 rules of Combat Medicine.
The two laws of combat medicine were explained to me by a guy with 2 stars on his CMB.
Rule #1. You can’t save them all.
Rule #2. You will not hesitate to give your life to prove Rule #1 is horse shit.