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Ten soldiers receive Purple Hearts
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Back home on leave, 3rd Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch had a full day of activities Thursday, including pinning the Purple Heart on 10 of the division’s wounded soldiers.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military declaration in present use and was the first American award made available to the common soldier. It is awarded to United States 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.
Although the soldiers were wounded at different times and suffered different levels of injury, the commanding general said he was “so enormously proud” of every soldier’s sacrifice, as all Americans should be.
“I want all Americans to know that for everything we are in this country, for everything we have, we need to look at citizens like these young men here before you today...(they are) Americans that are willing to stand up and serve their country by answering the call to go into harm’s way an serve,” he said.
Lynch also deviated from his prepared speech to highlight the importance of family in many soldiers’ lives.
“We soldiers do what we were trained to do. We all enlisted, none of us were drafted. We came into the Army to defend our freedoms and our way life,” he said. “But it’s the families that deserve all our gratitude, all our respect for what you do because you support us and allow us to do what we need to do on a daily basis with great sacrifice at times.”

Those awarded were:
• Capt. Donald E. Smith II, 3 BDE, 3ID MITT
• Capt. Meixel J. Andrus, HHC, 1-64 AR
• Sgt. 1st Class Anthony D. Arthur, A TRP, 5-7 CAV
• Sgt. 1st Class Barton Owen, D CO, 1-30 IN
• Sgt. Todd P. McKenna, A TRP, 5-7 CAV
• Spc. Zacharie A. Nelson, C CO, 1-64 AR
• Spc. Milton M. Mitchell Jr., B TRP, 3-7 CAV
• Spc. Tony E. Perry, HHC, 3-69 AR
• Pfc. Elijah C. Gregg, B CO, 1-64 AR
• Pfc. William C. Wilson, C CO, 1-30 IN
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