News: Wichita Soldier gets Purple Heart
By Spc. Joshua Sizemore
A Kansas Soldier was awarded the Purple Heart Feb. 5 for an attack on his convoy in Iraq last September.
Seven-year-veteran Sgt. Daniel Shields, 24, from Wichita, Kan., currently attached to the Army Reserve's 443rd Transportation Company, was injured during an explosively forced projectile attack against his convoy in southern Iraq, Sept. 30, 2009.
An EFP bomb is designed to project melted cooper in a specified direction when it is detonated.
Maj. Gen. James E. Rogers, the commanding general of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, awarded Shields and Spc. Scott Long, 27, from Indianola, Iowa, medals during a small ceremony at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Shields and Long are motor transport operators form the 443rd Transportation Company who were injured in the same attack. Their unit is part of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade charged with driving the M-1070 heavy equipment transport vehicles known as Heavy Equipment Transport System.
HETS are massive armored trucks that are capable of hauling up to 70 tons on their trailers. The 500 horsepower Detroit Diesel 8V92 engine truck weighs 20.5 tons and their matching trailers are not light at a hefty 25 tons. These tractor-trucks are the workhorse of the current responsible drawdown of equipment from Iraq.
Shields was the lead driver of a heavy equipment transporter convoy when his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle was struck at about 23:00 as it traveled from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, into Iraq. Long was manning anM249 machine gun through the vehicle's hatch. Both Shields and Long recalled being dazzled by a brilliant flash when their vehicle was struck at the front passenger side.
Shields suffered shrapnel wounds to his arms, back and neck. Long slammed his head against a metal object, which resulting in a concussion, when the blast threw him out of his gunner swing and crashing onto the floor. Long also incurred first and second degree burns when his uniform caught fire.
Their vehicle continued to role after the blast, but soon came to a stop just as Shields and Long leapt out of their smoldering vehicle rushing to the aid of their truck commander who was nearest the blast when it detonated at the front passenger side breaking his femur.
"I barely had a split second to think. I was more concerned about my (truck commander) than I was for my own injuries," said Shields.
Both Soldiers said that they were honored to have been recognized by Rogers for their service. Both Shields and Long participated in about a dozen convoy missions during their tour, but this particular convoy was the first time that either had personally taken a direct blow from enemy insurgents.