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Purple Heart awarded to teen warrior

POSTED: August 23, 2007 5:03 a.m.
PFC Joshua Sorrento celebrated his 20th birthday last week as a patient at Fort Stewart’s Winn Army Community Hospital.
Although not the most glamorous way for a soldier to commemorate leaving his teen years behind, the infantryman was all smiles Monday after receiving a belated birthday present.
A member of the 3rd Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-30th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, Sorrento has been recuperating at Winn after suffering wounds from sniper fire while searching Iraqi civilians at a checkpoint July 25.
Positioned comfortably in a rolling hospital bed and accompanied by his parents, Jennifer and Victor Sorrento, the Westfield, N.Y. native was honored for his sacrifice with a Purple Heart during a ceremony hosted by the hospital’s staff.
“Private First Class Sorrento, a 20-year-old warrior injured in combat, is a hero. And he exemplifies what is great about our nation,” Winn Commander Col. John Collins said. “He’s one of thousands of our nation’s sons and daughters making great personal sacrifice in defense of our nation.”
The Purple Heart is awarded to U. S. Armed Forces members who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those are killed in action or died from wounds received in action.
The combat declaration is the oldest military declaration in present use and was the first American award made available to the common soldier.
According to Sorrento, who tried different means of joining the Army since he was 16, being awarded medals was never his goal for serving, but he is proud to be recognized for his duty.
“I feel honored that I could do my best and sacrifice myself for the better of the nation and protecting our great country,” he said.
The soldier said serving the nation should not be an objective of a few Americans, but all Americans.
“I feel that everybody should serve their country because of the freedoms the country's given us ... we should at least do something to repay it,” he said. “I think everyone should serve a term, whether it be two or four years.”
Sorrento hopes to return to duty as an Army Ranger when he recovers from his injuries, but said he is prepared for anything in his future.
“I’m just anxious to get better so I can go back and help my guys out over in Iraq,” he said, “or whatever God has for me.”
His mother said she would have rather her son not have received the Purple Heart, but is pleased he followed his boyhood dream of being a soldier.
“We couldn't be prouder. I love him,” she said, noting she feels the same about her older son, Victor Jr., who is a member of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y. “I’m glad that he’s safe and I thank God for the blessings that He has bestowed upon us because if it wasn’t for Him, I don’t know how I would be today.”
 

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