News: 3rd ACR troopers awarded the Purple Heart
By 1st Lt. Andrius S. Mazeika
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE KALSU, Iraq – Two soldiers of 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, were awarded the Purple Heart medal in a ceremony on Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Memorial Day, May 30, for injuries they sustained during recent convoy operations.
The two soldiers, Staff Sgt. Jesse Urena and Spc. Timothy Shabbot of Battery K, received their medals from Brig. Gen. William L. Smith, the assistant division commander of the 36th Infantry Division.
“I was really glad to be standing there on my own two feet and receive this award from Gen. Smith,” said Urena, a native of Imperial Beach, Calif. “It’s not very often that recipients of this award are able to receive it under these conditions.”
Urena went on to say that he was also very grateful that no one was seriously injured from this attack and that everyone was able to “walk away.”
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Daniel Boyd, platoon leader and commander of the convoy that day, from Stafford, Va., reflected on the attack, saying that the roll-over drills that the unit has trained on are what really saved their lives.
During the attack, as the vehicle began to flip over, the men kept shouting, “Roll over! Roll over!” Boyd said. Spc. Zachary Roth, the driver of the vehicle at the time, remembered to pull Shabbott from his gunners turret, also a critical part of controlling a roll-over situation.
Boyd said Shabbott may have been more seriously injured as his harness buckle holding him in his gunner position broke when the turret separated during the roll.
“Looking back on the event, everyone was safe, and this turned out to be a valuable learning experience,” said Boyd.
Four soldiers were injured in the enemy engagement. Spc. Kevin Gallagher, who was not present at the ceremony, had already received his award prior to the event. Roth will receive his award in a future ceremony.