MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Thirty-nine Marines and one sailor from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, received the Purple Heart Medal at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field March 9.
The men, who recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan, received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After the 40 service members marched onto the field with the rest of their battalion standing behind them, Lt. Col. John M. Reed, the battalion commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brookshire, the battalion sergeant major, approached the formation.
As the men stood at the position of attention, the CO and sergeant major awarded each man his Purple Heart.
“I am proud of their efforts in Afghanistan and the Purple Heart shows the sacrifice they and the battalion made for their country, Marine Corps and fellow Marines,” Brookshire said. “Those Marines put a lot of sweat, blood and unfortunately, tears with the lose of their fallen brothers to make Afghanistan a better, more secure place for the Afghan people.”
As the ceremony came to a close, the awarded Marines marched off the field as the rest of the battalion moved forward to congratulate them.
“The Marines of 2/7 did an outstanding job on a daily basis during Operation Enduring Freedom,” Brookshire said. “I am honored and proud to be the sergeant major of this great battalion and to serve along these outstanding Marines.”
According to http://www. americal.org, which explains the origin and reason for the medal, the Purple Heart is different from all other medals and awards because a service member is not "recommended" for the medal; rather he warrants it due to wounds received from enemy action.
Although the Purple Heart Medal is requested for all Marines wounded in combat, each request must be reviewed to ensure wounds were received during combat.
For example, Lance Cpl. Allen Thurlow and Pfc. Trenton Walter, riflemen with Company E, received the Purple Heart due to wounds they received from an improvised explosive device that exploded and sent shrapnel into both the men.
“We where hit with a daisy chain,” said Walter, a Benton, Miss., native, who explained that a daisy chain was a string of four of five IED’s that detonate at the same time. “We both were caught in the blast.”
Thurlow, who was hit with shrapnel in the arm, side and back, said he was lucky to leave the attack with his life.
“It sucks because everyone who got hurt or killed was a friend or brother to someone,” said the Baldwin City, Kan., native. “They’ll be missed, but this is what we do, it comes with the job.”
Walter said the deployment went well overall despite the high amount of wounded.
“All of 2/7 as a whole did a damn good job at cleaning up the area we were in,” Walter said. “Everyone took casualties and that always sucks, but we did our jobs and we did them well.”
2/7 Purple Heart recipients:
• Gunnery Sgt. Harry H. Kendrick Jr, Company F.
• Staff Sgt. Kevin A Buegel, Company F.
• Sgt. Brian A. Kern, Weapons Company
• Sgt. William W. Rollins, Company G.
• Cpl. Joseph A. Billington, Company G.
• Cpl. Christopher J. Cowley, Company G.
• Cpl. Joseph S. Culliver, Headquarters and Service Company
• Cpl. Andrew M. Lynam, Company F.
• Cpl. Raymond S. Ruiter, Company E.
• Cpl. Blake R. Weller, Headquarters and Service Company.
• Cpl. Alexander D. Williamson, Headquarters and Service Company
• Lance Cpl. Brendan O. Ahern, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Alexander R. Allman, Company G.
• Lance Cpl. Jeremy J. Boucher, Company G.
• Lance Cpl. Beaux A. Cochran, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Brandon S. Cookson, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Edward J. Corona III, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Thomas S. Davenport, Headquarters and Service Company.
• Lance Cpl. Michael W. Erickson, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Brian A. Fisher Jr., Company E.
• Lance Cpl. Michael R. Gravitt, Company E.
• Lance Cpl. Noel A. Guerrero, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Clifford G. Heart IV, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Nicholas M. Harris, Company G.
• Lance Cpl. Geoffrey T. Kamp, Company G.
• Lance Cpl. Deshaun D. Longfellow, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Ryan R. Matibag, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. Raymond L. Mestas, Company F.
• Lance Cpl. James C. Nielsen III, Company E.
• Lance Cpl. Tanner R. Ruchti-Cleveland, Company G.
• Lance Cpl. Michael A. RuizRodriguez, Company E.
• Lance Cpl. Allen M. Thurlow, Company E.
• Pfc. Trenton N. Walter, Company E.
• Lance Cpl. David M. Ybaben, Company G.
• Pfc. Theodoro J. Celaya
• Pfc. Charles R. Cozart
• Pfc. Luke N. Mantallica
• Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Wolf,
• Navy Seaman Samuel Vallejo Jr.