Five Soldiers received the Purple Heart, one of the nation's most respected military medals and the world's oldest military decoration still in use, during a ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) March 14.
Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Jones, deputy commander of Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical (JTF CapMed), presented 1st Lt. Jake Murphy, Spcs. Joseph A. Jimenez, Brian J. Pomerville, Timothy White and Timothy F. Senkowski with the Purple Heart for injuries they sustained during combat in Afghanistan.
"You are why America's Army is the best in the world," Jones told the Soldiers he called, "heroes" and "the source of our nation's strength."
Jones said the ceremony was important, "because we need to take the time to recognize the courage, the sacrifice, the selfless service of all of you here," and particularly cited the five Soldiers honored in the March 14 ceremony, along with their families and friends who support them.
Murphy, 25, a native of Wellesley, Mass., was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) on July 23, 2011, while he was on dismounted patrol in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Murphy is an executive officer assigned to B Company, 2-87 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum, N.Y.
On Oct. 16, 2010, an IED hit the vehicle carrying Jimenez, 21, during a convoy operation in Al Massack, Afghanistan, and injured the Soldier. The M1 Abrams crewman from San Francisco, Calif., is assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Hohenfels, Germany, and is recovering with Bravo Company, Warrior Transition Unit, at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Pomerville, 27, an infantryman assigned to the 1-5 Infantry Battalion, 1-25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, sustained injury from an IED on July 6, 2011. The Syracuse, New York-native was returning from a dismounted key leader engagement mission in Niroze, Afghanistan.
A remotely detonated IED injured Senkowski, 29. The infantryman assigned to the 3-71 Calvary Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, was wounded while on dismounted patrol in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 13, 2011.
White, 25, a military policeman assigned to the 307th Military Police Company, 744th Military Police Battalion, 200th Military Police Command, New Kensington, Pa., sustained injury from a rocket propelled grenade Oct. 16, 2011. He too was on a dismounted patrol in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan at the time of the attack. White is recuperating with Alpha Company, Warrior Transition Unit, at Fort Belvoir.
"It is a true honor to be here with you today and to pay tribute to your courage, your sacrifice and your patriotism," Jones told the five Soldiers. He said the freedom that we enjoy as a nation, comes at a price that few of our citizens truly understand.
"That price includes extended tours away from home and away from family, extreme mental and physical hardships, and constant exposure to danger. Each of you had the courage to step forward and to place your life on the line for your fellow citizens. Today, you have the courage to endure the hard work of rehabilitation," Jones said. "You have kept us safe, you've served with honor and distinction and we are all deeply in your debt."