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Hartland High School Graduate Nominated for a Bronze Star

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

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."

Poksanna December 14, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Way to go Tom! I'm sure your parents are exceedingly proud of you.
Garron Currier December 14, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Though I know you to be a humble soldier Tom, feel proud of your feat of heroism as we are all proud of you.
S. Enderle December 14, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Thank you for your service and heroism! You make Hartland proud!
Pat Heil Hargis January 05, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Thank you for what you did for Nick and all you do for our service men and women on a daily basis. Nick is an amazing person and soldier. (I taught Nick in high school.) You are a true American Hero!
Karen Carroll January 05, 2012 at 10:56 AM
God Bless you young man! If it weren't for you...there could have been more loss and tragedy that day. My youngest son is in the final steps of his training as a Medic and his dad and I couldn't be prouder! Army Strong...Thank you so very much for your service and dedication!!
Pat Ermi January 05, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Thank you so much for your miraculous act in saving the life of the son of my very good friends, Steve and Sheila Vogt. The prayers are on-going for both Nick and the Vogt family and also all the military that are keeping our country free. God Bless.
mks518 January 05, 2012 at 08:07 PM
We can never say thank you enough for what this generation of soldiers has done for the rest of us. You are an even greater generation. Marcia Smith
Kim Opperman January 05, 2012 at 10:16 PM
You are our hero, Thomas Underhill. Outstanding service to your country and a fellow warrior. God used you in a mighty way to save Nick. Kim Opperman, President and founder of Socks for Soldiers, Inc. http://socksforsoldiersinc.com/

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