Army awards Bronze Star to ECU surgeon

Schenarts has been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. File photo
GREENVILLE, N.C.  (Mar. 1, 2005)  —  Dr. P.J. Schenarts, an assistant professor of surgery with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University who is currently deployed on active military duty, has received the Bronze Star.

The Bronze Star is awarded to Army personnel for heroic or meritorious action during military operations. Schenarts was cited for providing surgical care to soldiers wounded in combat and providing command leadership in an austere, forward environment during combat. Schenarts said such action occurred several times during December in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Schenarts, a major, commanded Alpha Team of the 933rd Forward Surgical Team, a unit that provides immediate surgical care for those who are too wounded to be evacuated to combat support hospitals. A forward surgical team works in a tent with limited supplies, one emergency medicine bed, a field operating table and two intensive care beds. In Afghanistan, Schenarts’ team consisted of himself plus an orthopedic surgeon, a nurse, a nurse anesthetist, an operating room technologist and several medics.

Schenarts’ team has recently worked in Afghanistan as well as in Tikrit, Samarra, Fallujah, Baghdad and Mosul in Iraq.

Schenarts downplayed his service. “"The real heroes of this conflict are not those of us in uniform, as we voluntarily raised our right hand and took an oath to perform this duty,”" he said via e-mail. “"The real heroes are those back home who did not volunteer to serve but are serving nonetheless by providing us support in the form of letters, e-mails, sending care packages or even mowing lawns. In my case, those who are covering my clinical and academic duties are the real, albeit unsung, heroes because they allow me to perform and focus on my duties here."”

Schenarts is on a one-year deployment that began July 15. In 2003, he was deployed to Afghanistan for six months.

Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2481