Retired Air Force Col. Alfred W. Studwell, D.O., ’62, was presented with the U.S. Armed Services Air Medal for his U.S. Air Force (USAF) service during the 1983 Beirut, Lebanon conflict. Dr. Studwell received the medal June 5, 2011, one day before his 79th birthday in a ceremony sponsored by the USAF at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga.
Dr. Studwell was commander of the U.S. Regional Hospital, Incirlik, Turkey, on October 23, 1983. “We found out that there was an early-morning terrorist attack on the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, which was a short flying distance from our base in Turkey,” said Dr. Studwell. “More than 250 active-duty Marines, Navy, and Army personnel were killed.” The primary explosion took out the attached military corpsmen and medical personnel, rendering the wounded helpless.
“I was aboard a USAF flight that was landing in Beirut to triage survivors,” he continued. “We were warned that there was sniper and mortar fire in the area. I wasn’t so much concerned about the danger for the plane, but rather the dead and injured that were lying bleeding on the runway.”
Twenty four badly-injured Marines were brought aboard the aircraft, and being the only physician on board, Dr. Studwell was credited with saving many lives on the emergency flight to trauma hospitals in Germany. He supervised a crew of 10 working on injured Marines.
Dr. Studwell now resides with his wife in Stone Mountain, Ga. He will be celebrating his 50-year reunion with ATSU-KCOM and will be invited to participate in Founder’s Day 2012 on the Missouri campus. Of his heroic actions, Dr. Studwell said, “I didn’t do anything special. I was just doing my job.”