JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – An Army staff sergeant who was wounded twice in combat during the Iraq war received his second Purple Heart award during a ceremony at the Maj. John P. Pryor Army Reserve Center here.
Staff Sgt. Shawn D. Carter received his award from Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff, commanding general of the 99th Regional Support Command, in front of a standing-room-only crowd gathered to celebrate Carter’s award and retirement from military service.
“This is just a great opportunity for us to honor one of our outstanding soldiers,” said Waff, “both recognizing his second award of the Purple Heart – our nation’s oldest military decoration - and also his retirement.”
Carter deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom for the first time in 2003 as a Weapons Intelligence Analyst, and again in 2006 as a Weapons Intelligence Team Leader under the 4th Infantry Division with the 710th Explosive Ordnance Disposal and 763rd EOD.
He was first wounded Feb. 10, 2006, by an improvised explosive device that was buried in the road. On Feb. 15, 2006, he was wounded again when his vehicle was struck while returning from an IED mission.
Five years later, Carter is able to wear his Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, signifying that he has twice been awarded the Purple Heart.
“It’s great to finally have this,” said Carter, a Pennsylvania native. “I really don’t know what to say but, ‘Thank you.’”
Carter, who first joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1987, reserved special praise for his family – wife Kathleen, daughter Kristyn and son Kevin – as well as the soldiers with whom he served.
“Without my family’s support, I wouldn’t be up here; without the support of my fellow soldiers, I wouldn’t have been here,” he said.
Carter also received support from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration.
“I’m just glad to be here with all my brothers and sisters in the military,” said Clarence Buddy Rhoades, commander of Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1777 located in Valley Forge, Pa. “We’ve come a long way from Vietnam, and I’m so proud to be here.”
Along with his Purple Heart award and retirement certificate, Carter received certificates of appreciation from President Barack Obama and Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, while his wife Kathleen received a certificate of appreciation from Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff of the Army.