HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A Massachusetts Army National Guard soldier received the Purple Heart during an awards ceremony at the Whitinsville Armory Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014.
The soldier, Spc. Carl Alves of Providence, Rhode Island, was wounded by a roadside bomb while on a combat overseas mission May 13, 2011, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Alves served with the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard at the time of the incident. The unit provided security for a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghazni province, Afghanistan.
The day Alves was wounded, his unit was returning to their forward operating base. After passing a familiar village, his vehicle was damaged by a roadside bomb. The soldiers secured the scene, collected evidence, but were unable to capture the insurgent who detonated the bomb.
Later Alves and other soldiers in his vehicle were treated by medical personnel.
During the ceremony, the battalion commander of the 181st, Lt. Col. Carl Gramstorff said, “If you see a soldier walking down the street in their dress uniform, their ribbons mean a lot. If you look and see a combat patch, you know they deployed and fought for our country. If you see a Combat Infantryman Badge, you know they personally fought the enemy. And if they have a Purple Heart, you know they stared death in the face, as Spc. Alves has,” said Gramstorff.
Speaking directly to Alves, Gramstorff said, “I hope we never have to give you this award again.”
Speaking about receiving the award Alves said, “To receive this award is an honor, but a bitter sweet one.”
The Purple Heart can be awarded to any member of an Armed Force who has been wounded or killed, or who has died or may hereafter die after being wounded in any action against an enemy of the United States.