Jul 29, 2014
Partly Cloudy

Hartland High School Graduate Nominated for a Bronze Star

Army Spc. Thomas Underhill saved Lt. Nick Vogt after IED blast in Afghanistan in November.

Hartland High School Graduate Nominated for a Bronze Star Hartland High School Graduate Nominated for a Bronze Star Hartland High School Graduate Nominated for a Bronze Star

A 2008 Hartland High School graduate could receive the Bronze Star for his role in saving a platoon leader who stepped on a mine during a patrol in Afghanistan, his mom Rebecca Oginski told Hartland Patch.

Army Spc. Thomas Underhill, who is a medic, helped save Lt. Nick Vogt, who lost his legs following the Nov. 12 blast in Kandahar province that also killed Army Spc. Calvin Matthew Pereda.

"It's nice, but it's sad," said Oginski, who first learned of her son's deed from a North Carolina television news report via a Facebook link about two weeks ago. "Someone had to die for him to be (eligible)."

The medal, created during World War II, is the fourth-highest military combat award and can recognize heroism or service.

Underhill, 21, was interviewed the day after the attack as part of a larger report by embedded WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, NC, reporter Joel Brown, who was accompanying Army Brigadier General Martin Schweitzer.

"The mood, it's really somber, but we're trying to focus, get on with the mission," Underhill said in the report.

Introducing Underhill, the general tells the camera: "That's your American hero, buddy."

Vogt's family, who is from Ohio and have a Facebook page for him, credit the power of prayer and his fellow soldiers, including Underhill, for helping him survive, according to an article posted by the Catholic News Agency. Vogt needed a wartime-patient-record 500 units of blood as he fought to live.

“Soldiers who did not even know Nick would sit with him for hours just holding his hand … just so he wasn't alone. … The amount of love from his and other soldiers there was unbelievable," his sister Olivia said in the report.

"Every doctor … said he should not be alive after all he went through.”

Oginski said Underhill, whose unit is based in Fairbanks, AK, has been in the service about two years and won't be home until April. She said she wants him home and tries to avoid news about the war whenever possible, but was amazed when she saw her son in the TV report.

"I'm so very proud," said Oginski, who is the manager of .

"This is my son."

Don’t miss updates from Patch!