KMC soldier earns SECDEF 2015 Jr NCO award

by Staff Sgt. Leslie Keopka 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Army Sgt. Roman Vyatkov, Defense Threat Reduction Agency Russian linguist, was named the Secretary of Defense’s 2015 Junior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at the Pentagon April 7.

Vyatkov is a Russian linguist and interpreter for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Europe currently stationed at Kleber Kaserne.

DTRA-E’s mission is to safeguard the U.S. and its allies from weapons of mass destruction by providing the means to prevent and counter WMD proliferation and reduce, eliminate and mitigate their effects.

Vyatkov’s role in this mission is as a liaison officer for U.S. and NATO installation commanders in United States Air Forces in Europe.

“Sgt. Vyatkov provides essential linguistic capability to all of DTRA’s primary missions in Europe,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. John P. Horner, DTRA and U.S. Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction acting director and Standing Joint Force Headquarters for Elimination commander. “He facilitates communication between U.S. government representatives and our foreign counterparts, primarily from former Soviet, Russian speaking countries.”

In addition to his job as a linguist, Vyatkov also conducts combat lifesaving skills training for DTRA-E personnel.

While participating in an exercise in Wisconsin in 2015, he witnessed a real-world vehicle accident involving a civilian family. He used his combat medic experience and was able to take control of the situation before medics arrived.

“After breaking the windows, I extracted both parents and one child from the vehicle. At that point I realized another child was still lodged in the backseat of the van,” Vyatkov said. “I noticed one child had a partial amputation. Relying on my combat experience, I immediately put an improvised tourniquet around her arm to stop the arterial bleeding.”

His quick actions, including triaging each patient, resulted in a toddler’s limb being saved due to him applying a tourniquet using his own belt.

Horner commended Vyatkov’s actions during this situation.

“For those who know and work with Sgt. Vyatkov, it is not surprising that this young NCO was ready and poised to render the necessary aid when disaster struck,” he said. “Like combat medics everywhere, he represents a quality that we all value highly: a desire to serve others.”

Since joining the Army in 2009, Vyatkov has been awarded the Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, Combat Medical Badge and a Combat Action Badge.

“It was a great honor to be nominated by my command and to be selected by (the Office of the Secretary of Defense) among the other highly qualified candidates,” Vyatkov said. “I’m humbled by this award, and it continues to motivate me to constantly improve myself. It was a very proud moment to represent my unit and our agency.”