My Purple Heart Story
I was part of 2nd Platoon, Alpha Co, 3/116 BCT deployed to Iraq in 2005. I rejoined the
Oregon Army National Guard in March of 2005 after being out of the Guard for about 18
years. I rejoined specifically to go to Iraq because the 116th had already deployed. I
rejoined in March, went to a drill in April, got activated for active duty in May and left
for 1 month of training. I arrived in Iraq in early June. I was originally slotted to join the
Scout Platoon but was reassigned to 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company upon arrival in Iraq. I
replaced Sgt John Augburn who had been recently killed in the line of duty. He had been
the gunner on the Alpha 2-3 vehicle when it was involved in a traffic incident. The up-
armored HHMV had rolled on its side, killing Sgt Augburn.
I became the 50 cal. Gunner on the Alpha 2-3 vehicle. The other crew members were --
TC - SSG Mayer, Driver - Sgt Polley, Dismount - Sgt Jimenez. Mayer and Jinenez had
been original members of the Alpha 2-3 crew, Polley had been assigned following the
death of Sgt Augburn.
My IED incident occurred on the morning of Oct 2nd, 2005.
Alpha Company was part of a Battalion sized mission to a town south of Kirkuk. We Were supporting a Special Forces (SF) Operation and were
out of our normal AO. We had left FOB Warrior the previous day and been out all night. Following the mission we reorganized
and started back to FOB Warrior on Rt. Cheyenne. Second Platoon (Alpha Company)
was lead element in the return to FOB. I was in 3rd vehicle back when an IED was
detonated on us. We took a direct hit on our passenger (right) side. The armored HHMV
saved the lives of all four of us. SSG Mayer was the most severely injured. He was
ground evacuated back to FOB Warrior.
A suspected bombers nest was found in hills east of the incident. Battalion units did
detain a possible suspect found driving away from the area. I do not know what
happened with the suspect.
Both of my tympanic membranes (ear drums) were ruptured by the IED blast. I also had
a loose tooth and later found out I had suffered a TBI.
I received a Combat Action Badge and a Purple Heart.