Deployed Forces: 2nd AAB hosts Purple Heart ceremony

| September 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

1st Lt. Jay L. Jones
2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Murray (left), battalion commander, Task Force 225, pins the Purple Heart on Pfc. Kyle Abernatha, 66th Eng. Co., 2nd AAB, 25th ID. Abernatha received wounds to his right shoulder during a mortar attack on FOB Warhorse in July, made a full recovery, and will continue to serve his current tour of duty in the Diyala province, Iraq. (Sgt. Ricardo Branch | 2nd AAB Public Affairs, 25th ID)FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARHORSE, Iraq – Someone once said that while serving in the Army, there are three awards that no one aspires to receive: the Medal of Honor, the Prisoner of War or Missing in Action Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Pfc. Kyle Abernatha and Pvt. Cody Miller, are the first two 66th Engineer Company, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Soldiers awarded Purple Hearts in the 2nd AAB, not given posthumously. 

July 17, Abnernatha and Miller, along with members of their platoon, drove to the motor pool to change a tire and conduct routine maintenance on their platoon Strykers. Abernatha was filling the air in one of his tires when the first round impacted.  

“No one moved at first,” Miller said. “I thought Abernatha had overfilled his tire and it had burst, so I walked around my vehicle to look.”  

Shortly after, the second round impacted, then the third.  

“Everybody was running,” Abernatha said, recalling the event. “We all ended up huddled in the bunker together. We didn’t realize we were hurt until we got to safety.”  

When the dust settled, Miller realized he had received injuries to his left leg and Abernatha had received injuries to his right shoulder.

If anything was just a little different – if the vehicles were positioned a little closer to the perimeter, if the Soldiers were exposed out in the open – it might have been the difference between what actually occurred and a grim alternative.

“This brings the realization that no matter where you are – on the base or not, doing a daily routine or out on a route clearance mission – it’s still dangerous out here,” said Capt. Christopher Pierce, commander, 66th Eng. Co.     

Leadership and Soldiers filled the stands at Faulkenburg Theater, here, recently, to pay tribute to Abernatha and Miller as they received Purple Heart Medals.  

“I’m very proud of both of them,” said 1st Sgt Keith Nordlof, company first sergeant, 66th Eng. Co. “They immediately wanted to go to back to work after their injuries.”

“I feel very fortunate that they are both here today,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Peredo, the Soldiers’ platoon sergeant. “It’s a blessing that they received only minor injuries.”  

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world presently in use. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy. It is also awarded posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

“It’s honored by all, sought after by none,” said 1st Lt. Garrett Haddad, a platoon leader with 66th Eng. Co., describing the Purple Hearts received by two of his Soldiers.  

“It’s nice that our leadership is recognizing us,” Miller said, “I was just doing my job.”  

“I’m proud to be a part of this,” Abernatha said.


Category: Deployed Forces, News

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