NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two Cavalry Troopers of 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Shooter, were awarded Purple Hearts in a ceremony at Jalalabad Airfield Dec. 30.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 and Regional Command East, presented Purple Hearts to U.S. Army 1st Sgt. David E. Lee from Valley Springs, Ark., of C Troop, TF Shooter, 10th CAB, and U.S. Army Spc. Matthew J. Riddle from Greenfield, Ind., of D Troop, TF Shooter, 10th CAB, for wounds received in the defense of Forward Operating Base Fenty Nov. 13.
“Today is a proud day for the task force and an honor for U.S. Army Command, Sgt. Maj. (Patrick) McGuire and myself,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Downey, of Philadelphia, the Task Force Shooter commander. “Every single day, we are reminded that we serve with the finest Soldiers in the Army, and we are privileged to call ourselves Six Shooters”.
The Purple Heart is the oldest American military decoration in the nation. It was initially created as the Badge of Military Merit available to the common Soldier by Gen. George Washington. The award fell into disuse following the Revolution and was not proposed again officially until after World War I. The Purple Heart was revived on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth, Feb. 22, 1932, out of respect to his memory and achievements. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those killed in action or of wounds received in action.
Dec. 30 marked the 53rd day in country for TF Shooter. Since they arrived in Afghanistan, the task force has flown more than 5,000 combat flight hours, moved 1,300 air assault passengers to seize terrain and neutralize the enemy, conducted more than 20 aerial enemy engagements in close proximity to friendly forces, hauled more than 25 sling load missions through terrain that vehicles are unable to maneuver, and conducted 80 successful life-saving medical evacuation missions.
In addition to the Purple Hearts, 38 Cavalry Troopers received the Combat Action Badge during a separate ceremony.
The Combat Action Badge was approved for creation by the Secretary of the Army May 2, 2005. It was created to recognize Soldiers who have engaged or have been engaged by the enemy while serving in a combat zone. Since the start of ground combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom through September 2010, 20,670 soldiers have earned the Combat Action Badge.
U.S. Army Col. Pedro G. Almeida of New Bedford, Mass., commander of TF Falcon, 10th CAB, assisted by the brigade command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth E. Patton, awarded the Combat Action Badge to recipients during an evening ceremony on Jalalabad Airfield.
“I am proud,” said Downey. “Proud of where we have been and the hard work and dedication it took to get us to this point, proud of where we are as a solid and cohesive team, and most importantly, where we are going; raising the bar every day and every mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
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