Being shot at by a sniper is a weekly occurrence for many U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq.
But the experience Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer, of Mendon, New York, had in Baghdad on June 2 was highly unusual.
During a routine patrol in Baghdad, Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper, hiding in a van just 75 yards away. The incident was videotaped by the insurgents.
Tschiderer, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he wasn’t killed, thanks to the protective body armor he was wearing. “I knew I was hit,” said Tschiderer, “but was uncertain of the damage or location of the hit. The only thing going through my mind was to take cover and locate the sniper’s position."
After a few seconds, Tschiderer jumped to his feet, shot back, then took cover and located the sniper.
The U.S. Army has released footage of the incident that shows Tschiderer, 21, being shot in the chest by a sniper, then getting away.
His mother, Debbie Tschidere, has had a chance to view the tape, after first getting an e-mail from her son. In the e-mail, Pfc Stephen wrote, “Treating the man who shot me didn't really sink in until afterwards. At the time, I just did my job and didn't really think about it too much."
After she saw the tape, she told a local television station that she just couldn’t believe her son got up. She says learning he went on to capture the shooter and render first aid tells the world what she already knows, that her son is a top-notch soldier, "And to me that shows incredible strength of character that we're incredibly proud of," said Debbie Tschiderer.
After being shot and calling for help, other soldiers from Tschiderer’s unit joined him and together they tracked down the wounded sniper by following the blood trail he left as he and another attacker fled the scene.
The sniper was handcuffed and given medical aid by the very man he had tried to kill, Tschiderer.
Tschiderer is with E Troop, 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division, attached to 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
(Copyright 2005 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)