News: Soldier receives Purple Heart
FORT HOOD, Texas -- “Attention to Orders!” said Capt. David Padgalaskas, narrator for the ceremony. “By order of the President of the United States of America, the Purple Heart, established by General George Washington, is awarded to Spc. Charles Lemon, for wounds received in action, June 8, 2011. Given under my hand at Fort Hood, Texas this 14th day of May 2012, signed the honorable John McHugh, Secretary of the Army.”
These words resonated in the heart of the recipient, who stood proudly on his prosthetic legs, as he accepted the award.
Held at the 3rd Cavalry Regiment memorial, the ceremony allowed friends, Family members and fellow soldiers to congratulate Lemon.
Lemon, a native of Haines City, Florida, joined the Army, Feb. 3, 2009. Following basic and advanced individual training, he was assigned to Maddog Company, Thunder Squadron, 3rd CR, where he served as a gunner.
On June 8, 2011, while conducting combat operation in Najaf, Iraq, Lemon was wounded by an attack on his vehicle.
“That morning, Lemon’s platoon was tasked to support the Najaf Stability Transition Team which was assisting the local Anti-Terrorism Unit in prosecuting numerous detained high value targets,” said Capt. David Griffith, the former commander for Maddog.
“While en route to this location, Lemon’s truck was struck by an explosive formed penetrator, which penetrated his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in two locations. Unfortunately this attack took the precious life of the driver, and wounded all personnel on board the vehicle. Fortunately, Lemon was immediately stabilized by his medic and fellow soldier, who was also wounded. Due to the brave and competent actions of these soldiers in a chaotic combat environment, Lemon survived his injuries and is here standing before us today,” added Griffith.
And stand he did, which is something that doctors told him he may never again be able to do.
“I am still trying to find out what all I can do rather that things I can do,” said Lemon as he refers to sports and activities that can be adapted for amputees.
Despite his injuries, Lemon is focused on the future with plans to walk again, go to college, go scuba diving and kayak fishing, as well as volunteering for numerous charities.
Lemon said he wants to give back to the community for supporting him through his recovery.
Though his recovery was more difficult than he had anticipated, Lemon stood upright when he received the award and remained standing while attendees showed their appreciation with hugs, hand-shakes, or coins.
“It’s one of the greatest honors I have,” said Lemon as he described what it meant to receive the award.
The Purple Heart award is the oldest military decoration in current use and is the first American award made available to the common soldier. Initially created as the Badge of Military Merit by Gen. George Washington, the Purple Heart is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy or posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who were killed in action or died from wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.
“Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen,” a phrase from the actual Order of the Purple Heart.
Date Posted:05.16.2012 08:49
Location:FORT HOOD, TX, US
Hometown:HAINES CITY, FL, US
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