Hometown Hero Fights Hypothermia To Help Soldiers

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

AFGHANISTAN (January 20, 2014) A 21-year-old soldier from Clifton shows bravery during a mission in below freezing temperatures to help provide life-saving supplies to other soldiers after a U.S. Army helicopter was shot down by enemy forces.

The crash happened on Dec. 17, when an American UH-60 Black Hawk was shot down in Zabul province, killing six service members and severely injuring one other, according to details released by the Army.

The Army unit nearby that responded to the crash was the 2nd Battalion 2nd Infantry Regiment or the "Ramrod," Battalion.

Part of the Ramrod Battalion is 21-year-old Spc. Justin Necessary.

Necessary is a Clifton native and graduated from Clifton High School in 2010.

According to Army officials part of the mission for the Ramrods meant securing the site until it could be removed, which required them to be there overnight in below freezing temperatures.

"I knew how cold it could get on top of the mountain from previous deployments and previous air assault (helicopter) missions," Necessary said.

"I was not expecting it to be as cold as it was. That was the coldest I have ever been my entire life."

Necessary and two other soldiers in the unit had to make a hike back up a mountain after retrieving cold weather gear that had been dropped off.

One soldier said they were dragging the bag 20 feet at a time before they had to take breaks.

The bags contained heating blankets, extreme cold-weather jackets, gloves, water, facial gear and other life-preserving supplies.

Two soldiers carried one of the bags together and Necessary carried another one by himself.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to make it that night," Necessary said. "I was already getting pre-stages of hypothermia. My hands and toes were getting numb. My body would shake uncontrollably. I was getting worried."

Details from the Army say that when the three soldiers returned to the crash site Necessary dropped off the supplies, then curled into a ball and began to shake uncontrollably.

Soldiers on site began to help him by putting him in a suit designed to raise the core body temperature.

The cold-weather gear was also used to help the Afghan National Army soldiers on the mountain with the Ramrods, who both endured the extreme freezing conditions, according to information from the Army.

Necessary and the other soldiers did recover and are still stationed in Afghanistan.

Twelve Army Commendation Awards were given out for the mission.

Necessary was one of the soldiers to receive an award.

Necessary deployed from Fort Knox, Kentucky, but was raised in the Central Texas town of Clifton.

On Monday his mother Melinda Napieralski said she was so proud of her son and his brave acts.

Others who knew Necessary while he was growing up in Clifton said he was always willing to lend a helping hand and was always respectful and kind.

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