Two Fort Carson, Colorado, soldiers thought the night of Sept. 3 would be routine, but it turned into something that would put them up for the Soldier’s Medal.
That night, Spc. Basar Bozdogan and Pfc. Jacob Krajnik, both assigned to the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were volunteering for the “No DUI Program,” which offers safe rides to soldiers who have been drinking.
Bozdogan, an automated logistical specialist, and Krajnik, an infantryman, drove out to pick up a soldier who needed a ride.
While they were en route, the soldier called saying he had found another ride, so Bozdogan and Krajnik turned around to head back.
That’s when they came across a car accident. The two soldiers were the first ones on the scene, and they pulled over to help.
“We noticed a three-vehicle collision,” Krajnik said in an Army news release. “There was no one else around or on the road. I believed that the wreck happened maybe 30 seconds before we got there.”
Krajnik and Bozdogan began assisting one of the people who was helping others out of their vehicle. Once everyone was out of the vehicles, Krajnik said he noticed someone was still stuck inside.
“At first, I didn’t want to move him because he looked like he was injured pretty badly,” he said.
That’s when Krajnik saw the flames under the vehicle.
“It started to get bigger really fast,” he said. “I screamed to Bozdogan and yelled that the vehicle is catching on fire.”
The soldiers flung open the door, removed the injured man’s seatbelt and carried him to safety. As they were carrying him away, the car caught on fire.
“If we would’ve waited longer, it would’ve been a devastating situation,” Krajnik said. “He could’ve also suffered burn injuries, or even died.”
Bozdogan said he and Krajnik were meant to be on that road.
“We were trying to prevent an accident with a soldier and ended up saving someone else’s life that night. What are the odds?” Bozdogan said. “That man would not have had a chance if it weren’t for us. In my heart, I knew right away that I was not going to watch him burn alive.”
Both soldiers said they don’t feel like heroes — they were doing what anyone would do in that situation.
“I joined the Army to save lives here and abroad,” Bozdogan said. “It doesn’t matter where I’m at, I just have that instinct to react when I see someone who needs help. It’s not all about being a hero. It’s about making a split-second decision at the right moment to ensure the safety of others.”
For their actions, Bozdogan and Krajnik have been nominated for the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest peacetime award for valor.
Army Times was unable to interview the soldiers due to their training schedule.