Nick Vogt graduated from West Point in 2010 with an acceptance to medical school and plans to become one of the Army’s top trauma surgeons.
But first, the Ohio-born 22-year-old wanted to understand the physical and mental demands on an infantryman in combat. So he went to Ranger School and Airborne and landed with 1st Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, first in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and later, Afghanistan.
“It felt necessary for me to go out there, to experience what the soldiers experience, so when I’m a doctor, I’ll know,” said Vogt, now 24.
In Panjwai, near Kandahar, Vogt’s affable demeanor and willingness to learn quickly earned his men’s allegiance.
“I really liked the guy. He was really motivated to get out there and work with us,” recalled team leader Sgt. Adam Lundy.
But within two months, the popular lieutenant would be clinically dead, having taken a wrong step onto an improvised explosive device.
And what happened afterward is now a chapter in the annals of military medicine.
On Nov. 12, Vogt, now a first lieutenant, will celebrate his first “Alive Day,” the anniversary of the day both his legs were shorn off by a makeshift bomb. He survived, receiving 500 units of blood, more than any other casualty survivor in U.S. history.
His story epitomizes the advancements in casualty care in the past decade and illustrates just how far the U.S. military will go to save one of its own.