ROD THOMPSON / RTHOMPSON@STARBULLETIN.COM
25th Infantry commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, right, presented the Silver Star certificate yesterday to Michael Fuhrmann, father of Spec. Ray Fuhrmann II, who died in Iraq.
Isle medic honored posthumously
The Army presents a Silver Star for valor during combat in Iraq
HILO » Army medic Ray Michael Fuhrmann II was calm under fire on the day that he and a unit of friendly Iraqi commandos ran into an ambush.
Fuhrmann saved six Iraqi lives in the firefight that followed on March 22, 2005.
For his bravery, Fuhrmann's father was presented with the Silver Star last night in a brief ceremony at Waiakea High School in Hilo. It is the third-highest military honor that the nation bestows on its military personnel.
Spc. Fuhrmann could not receive it himself. He and three other soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb destroyed their vehicle five months after the ambush, on Aug. 18, in Samarra. He was 28.
Born in Honolulu, Fuhrmann was raised in Volcano on the Big Island and in California, and had attended Waiakea High School.
He had served in Iraq as an ambulance driver for six months in 2003, then returned in January 2005.
"He was very calm when others were not," said Lt. Col. Mark Wald, his commander in Iraq.
On March 22, 2005, Iraqi commandos were moving to attack a suspected insurgent safe house when they were hit by fire, Wald said.
Fuhrmann went to the aid of the wounded while the commandos attacked the safe house. With bullets flying around him, Fuhrmann fired all the ammunition in his rifle and pistol, then picked up an Iraqi AK-47, loaded it and fired it until he again ran out of ammunition, Wald said.
He did so while providing aid to the wounded, saving the six Iraqis.
"Spc. Fuhrmann was a real hero," Wald said.
Fuhrmann knew before he was killed that he was going to receive the medal, his father said.
"I've been waiting to get it for a while," he said. "It helps to lay him to rest. It's the last thing to do."
Fuhrmann's grandfather Ray Michael Fuhrmann I said the death of his namesake was a tragedy, since the young man had finally found his calling and planned to become a doctor.
"You know you have to live with it. You know it's final. There's no alternative. Ray was a wonderful kid," he said.