SSgt Ian Tyrrel, Saved Injured Woman From Drowning

Green Beret SSgt Ian Tyrrel had just passed the Special Forces Selection and Assessment Course in 2019 and was assigned to Fort Campbell. For saving an injured woman soon after, he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal on July 14, 2021 in a ceremony at Fort Campbell’s Deeks Language Lab.

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Staff Sergeant Ian Tyrrel is a Special Forces Medic. Just after his arrival at Fort Campbell for his first duty assignment, he and a friend decided to take a trip to Port Royal State Historic Park, which is several miles East of Clarksville, Tennessee. While there, he and his friend noticed a “commotion” in the water. It was a woman who was drowning.

He and his friend dove into the water and pulled her ashore. SSgt Ian Tyrrel noted that when the current pulled her underwater, her leg was broken. When a first responder arrived, he did not have the proper equipment to help with the injury. That particular part of Port Royal State Park is remote, which makes it difficult for emergency crews to get there.

SSgt Tyrrel realized the that only alternative was to find something to temporarily use as a brace. He used the oar- he snapped it and made it into a makeshift leg brace. He cared for the woman until she could be loaded onto a life raft, and then he helped get the raft through the rapids to an evacuation point.

“One of the great things we get to do is recognize bravery. It’s common to recognize our Soldiers in a combat zone, but what Staff Sgt. Tyrrel did is not common…He didn’t think about it. His training kicked in and he did what comes naturally. But he deserves it I cannot be more proud of him.”

Maj. Gen. John W. Brennan Jr., commanding general of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 
Staff Sgt Ian Tyrrel receives the Soldier’s Medal. 5th Special Forces Public Affairs office photo by Sgt Daniel Mariscal

For his part, SSgt Tyrrel simply said “Anybody else would have done the same thing. The lady needed help. I helped her.”


Featured photo: 5th Special Forces Public Affairs Office photo by Sgt Daniel Mariscal (DVIDShub).

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