LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, Landstuhl, Germany - Four of the five US service members injured recently during a bombing in Afghanistan were awarded the Purple Heart by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Lambert, commanding general, US Army Special Forces Command, today during a ceremony at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC). The fifth service member attended the ceremony, but elected to receive the Purple Heart when he returns to the United States.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the US who are wounded by an instrument of war, and is a combat decoration. Four of the injured have been released from the hospital, and the remaining patient is in good condition. He is expected to be released soon.
Following the award ceremony, US Special Forces personnel, known throughout the world as the "quiet professionals," talked with reporters. In describing the Special Forces members, Lambert said they are people with adventurous spirits who believe in their country, love their families, and are willing to pay with their blood in the fight against terrorism.
Using only first names for operational security reasons, three of the Purple Heart recipients described their experiences in Afghanistan. They told reporters about the day they received word that heavy casualties were being inflicted on the Northern Alliance by the Taliban forces, and some of the events that occurred after they entered the combat area. According to the Special Forces crew they were subjected to small arms fire and mortar rounds prior to the bombing.
"Everything went brown," according to one of the service members. "I felt myself flying through the air and I was awake and conscious the entire time. I prepared myself for the impact and at first thought I couldn't see or hear. My biggest worry was that the Taliban had overwhelmed our people, but that didn't happen. I heard American voices and cried out for help. One of our crew helped me to a safer position."
He added that two other team members, while under Taliban fire, heroically rescued a more seriously injured soldier. All five were medically evacuated to a nearby hospital and later to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
In discussing their experiences, they said they were received with open arms and a lot of smiling faces by the Afghanistan people, and described the Taliban forces as dedicated to their cause and highly motivated.