News: Indiana National Guard presents soldiers with Purple Heart
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Matt Scotten
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger presented Coal City Ind. native Spc.Joseph Rybolt and Spc. Andrew Yeley of Speedway, Ind. with the Purple Heart Medal for injuries suffered as a result of an IED blast while deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. The presentation was made in a formal ceremony at the Indiana World War Memorial Friday, Sept 6, 2013.
While deployed they were detached from their National Guard unit and attached to an active duty Army component. It took five years and a lot of hard work on the part of several leaders within the Indiana National Guard to get the paperwork routed through all the proper channels for them to be finally awarded their medals.
“It’s almost fortuitous,” said Umbarger. “Had they been attached to their own units at the time, they would have probably received this award in theater. Now, they get to be recognized today in front of their family and friends.”
Yeley was overwhelmed by the award, almost to the point of tears.
“This is just so surreal. This could not have happened in a better place than here in my hometown with one of my best friends right beside me,” Yeley said as he gestured to Rybolt.
Rybolt had less to say. He just smiled and put his arm around Yeley, saying, “Me and this guy are brothers for life.”