Traditional Values

Soldier Saves a Man’s Life Through Quick Thinking and a Few Simple Items

Next time you see members of our military, thank them

Image Credit: Facebook, U.S. Army

All it took was an ink pen and a hoodie.

But that’s not nearly the whole story.

Next time you see soldiers clad in military fatigues, thank them. Due to their training, their dedication to their work and their commitment to others, they may have saved a life recently, as Sgt. Trey Troney did — with unlikely accoutrements.

On December 22, Troney (shown above) was driving home to Raleigh, Mississippi, a small town some 1,100 miles east of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where he’s based, for Christmas.

Troney is a field artillery cannon crew member — a noncommissioned officer — assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.

That’s when he saw a man slumped over the steering wheel of his truck from an apparent accident.

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Troney, 20 years old, immediately pulled over, according to several news outlets, and pried the truck door open with help from two other men.

Upon seeing that the driver of the truck, Jeff Udger, had suffered a bloody blow to the head, Troney took off his brand new “Salute to Service” New Orleans Saints hoodie.

He wrapped it around Udger’s head to help staunch the bleeding, according to

At that time, Udger was still conscious enough to crack a joke: “Well, this is Cowboy country, so I don’t know how I feel about you wrapping me up in a Saints hoodie,” Udger told Troney.

What happened next was extraordinary.

When Troney saw that Udger’s chest was no longer rising due to a collapsed lung, he ran back to his Jeep to fetch first aid supplies.

By then, Udger lost consciousness.

Without a right-sized needle to relieve the pressure, Troney grabbed a ballpoint pen and drained the ink — a heroic display of quick thinking and calmness under pressure.

He then plunged the hollow plastic tube into Udger’s chest.

There were no pain meds. No anesthesia.

“I took the NCD [needle chest decompression] and put it right in the hole and kind of wiggled [the pen] in with my hand in between the ribs and you just started to see the bubbles come out of the tip, and I was like, ‘OK, we’re good,’” said Troney, according to

“Continue to give back to this world and the people in it. You truly will never know when you will make a life-changing impact to someone.”

When the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later, the paramedics said Troney saved Udger’s life.

Troney credits the training he received from his unit’s medics for helping him save Udger’s life, as the Fort Bliss Bugle reported.

Ever since his recovery, Udger has been singing his hero’s praises for the rescue, contacting government officials, the media, even his Troney’s brigade commander, Col. Michael Trotter.

“Young man, you will always be my hero,” Udger wrote Troney in an e-mail.

“Continue to give back to this world and the people in it. You truly will never know when you will make a life-changing impact to someone.”

For more on this story, check out this video:

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter

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