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Purple HeartOur Heroes page is dedicated to our military who are wounded in the War on Terrorism. On this page you will see pictures and read stories about our men and women in uniform. Each person’s story on this page reveals courage, heroism, sacrifice and triumph over adversity. Wounded Warriors – Sons and Daughters of America thanks each and every service member for their sacrifice.  It is to be noted that there are military men and women who have been injured while serving who have not received a purple heart for their sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

SGT ROBERT JEPSEN, BCO, 2/505

Wounded outside of Baghdad February 27, 2004

 

SGT Jepsen on patrol Afghanistan 2003

SGT Jepsen on patrol Afghanistan 2003

SGT Jepsen served with patriotism, merit, and distinction as a fire team leader for B Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th PIR.  Throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, SGT Jepsen displayed strong leadership and demonstrated outstanding technical and tactical abilities during offensive operations.  SGT Jepsen led a 4-man fire team during his time in Iraq.

 

SGT Jepsen was critically wounded during an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack. Prior to the attack, SGT Jepsen’s quick thinking and alertness resulted in his positioning himself between the IED and a fellow paratrooper.  This selfless act resulted in the fellow paratrooper sustaining minimal wounds with SGT Jepsen absorbing a large portion of the blast.  He was evacuated to an Army Hospital, where he received reconstructive surgery for his face as well as medical treatment for a severely injured leg and arm.  Even under these devastating circumstances, SGT Jepsen’s strength of character and positive attitude motivated him to be an encouragement to some of the other wounded paratroopers in the hospital.  After moving to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., SGT Jepsen’s phone calls helped Bravo Company move on from this devastating incident and fight to accomplish the mission in Central Iraq.  He also went out of his way to encourage his injured squad leader who was fighting to recover from losing a leg in the same IED attack.  SGT Jepsen’s strength of character and positive attitude during intense and trying circumstances set an example that will never be forgotten by the paratroopers of Bravo Company.

 

SGT Jepsen recovering at Walter Reed Hospital Washington, D.C. 2004

SGT Jepsen recovering at Walter Reed Hospital Washington, D.C. 2004

SGT Jepsen played a significant role in the offensive operations conducted by Bravo Company.  As part of the theater wide effort to decrease the IED threat along Main Supply Route Tampa, SGT Jepsen engaged in an aggressive patrolling plan that created a continuous and constantly changing presence addressing that threat.  In preparation for this SGT Jepsen aided in developing a strenuous rehearsal program in order to prepare 1st Platoon for offensive operations.  His emphasis on practicing the basic skills of an infantryman ensured that his paratroopers were ready to adapt and react to any situation.  During the time 1st Platoon conducted offensive operations, SGT Jepsen participated in 3 combat patrols near the enemy’s know or suspected IED sites.  These patrols were conducted day and night and in all weather conditions.  His tactical competence and thoroughness greatly contributed to the overall drop of IED attacks in the Bravo Company area of operations. SGT Jepsen’s tactical competence, professionalism, and thoroughness were vital to 1st Platoon’s overall success during offensive operations.

 

SGT Jepsen was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for valor.

 

SGT Robert Jepsen with wife SGT Angie Jepsen who is also active duty and served in Iraq.

SGT Robert Jepsen with wife SGT Angie Jepsen who is also active duty and served in Iraq.

Prior to being deployed to Iraq, SGT Jepsen served in Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Jan 2003-Aug. 2003).   During SGT Jepsen’s military career he has been awarded the following medals.

 

Army Commendation Medal (2nd award)

Joint Service Achievement Medal

Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award)

Good Conduct Medal

National Defense Service Medal

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Armed Forces Service Medal

 

SSG RAY ROBINSON, 3rd ID, A co, 2-7 Infantry

Wounded near Baghdad airport July 8, 2003

SSG Ray Robinson served with heroism, courage and unending enthusiasm as a squad leader for 3rd ID, A co 2-7 Infantry.  SSG Robinson’s capability to perform multiple skilled tasks while under fire facilitated unparalleled success for the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) to defeat enemy forces and liberate Iraq.  SSGT Robinson displayed exemplary performance of duty in a combat zone reflecting great credit upon himself, the 3rd  Infantry Division (Mechanized) “Rock of the Marne”, and the United States Army.

 

SSG Robinson was injured on a routine patrol near the Baghdad airport.  Ordinarily SSG Robinson would not have been driving, but on this day he volunteered.  He stopped the humvee after spotting suspicious activity.  After alerting his squad to be on alert, SSG Robinson leaned out of the vehicle to check the ground surrounding his humvee.  The next instant the vehicle was rocked by an explosion.  Time stood still and flew all at once.  He found himself face down in a huge hole.  All he could hear was a windy whistle.  It was only after one of his soldiers fell in on him did he realize he was alive.  SSG Robinson immediately began a head count and determined everyone was ok.  He set up security and then attempted to stand up…realizing he was not ok.  He looked down and realized he was soaked in blood, his right foot turned sideways.   They carried him out of the hole, to MEDACS who had arrived almost immediately.  SSG Robinson realized he couldn’t open his eye and his face was burned.  Overwhelming pain encompassed him making it almost impossible to stay conscious.  The force of the blast had blown the shank of his boots into his feet.   SSG Robinson was treated in Germany after which he returned to the United States.  SSG Robinson learned later he was very blessed because the bomb had been planted upside down.  Had it been correctly planted, his entire squad would have been killed.  A bomb expert informed him that by stopping his humvee just before driving onto the anti-tank mine had also saved his squad.  Had he been driving fast the blast would have hit the seats killing everyone.  SSG Robinson knows God blessed him.

SSG Robinson was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with “Valor” Device.

 

 

 

SSG DANIEL METZDORF, BCO, 2/505

Wounded outside of Baghdad February 27, 2004

 

 

SSG Daniel Metzdorf Receiving Purple Heart ceremony 2004

SSG Daniel Metzdorf Receiving Purple Heart ceremony 2004

SSG Dan Metzdorf was injured in Iraq on January 27, 2004, during a routine night patrol.  Three soldiers were killed in action and three were wounded.  In result of the injuries to SSG Metzdorf ‘s right leg, the doctors had to amputate above the knee in order to save his life.  SSG Metzdorf was moved to Baghdad by UH-60 Black hawk helicopter for this operation.  Later, he was moved to Landstuhl, Germany for other life saving surgeries.  On February 2, 2004 SSG Metzdorf was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  He underwent approximately 15 more operations and procedures to rid him of infection, blood clots and massive pain caused by the blast injury.  SSG Metzdorf was at WRAMC until August of this year.  In that time SSG Metzdorf was involved with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, prosthetic care, and fighting to stay on active duty.  SSG Metzdorf was turned down three times from the Medical Board of the army.  In the last attempt his chain of command from the lowest ranking officer to the commanding General of the 82nd Airborne division, weighed in allowing SSG Metzdorf to continue on active duty.  SSG Metzdorf recently completed his first marathon on a hand-cycle bike, the NYC Marathon on November 7, 2004.  A few days at after this event SSG Metzdorf  re-enlisted in the army for six more years.  “ I am presently a SSG/E-6 and continuing my rehab at Fort Bragg.  I continue to tell the positive story of a soldier that has lost a leg but has gained so much,” says SSG Metzdorf.

 

SSG Metzdorf was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

 

SSG Metzdorf in therapy

SSG Metzdorf in therapy

Prior to being deployed to Iraq, SSG Metzdorf was deployed to Sinai, Egypt (July 2000-Jan (2001) and to Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Jan 2003-Aug 2003).  He has been awarded the following medals for his service.

 

Army Commendation Medal

Army Achievement Medal (5)

Good Conduct Medal (3)

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

National Defense Medal (2)

Humanitarian Service Medal

Multi-National Forces and Observers Medal


SGT 1st Class Centra M. Mazyck

wounded  at Fort Bragg, NC  November 24, 2003

 

In the ongoing war on terror we always hear about the casualties and our military members who are wounded on the battlefield.  But there are unsung heroes who have sacrificed their lives for family and country.  They have put their lives on hold to enlist in an all volunteer military.  What happens when our military are injured or killed in training exercises, never reaching the battlefield.  They have stories we never hear about.  Their sacrifices are never noted or broadcast on the local TV stations.  Why?  Because they were not injured on the battlefield.  One such hero is SGT 1st class Centra M. Mazyck. SGT Mazyck was injured at Fort Bragg, NC where she was assigned to the United States Advanced Airborne School.  During a routine jump on November 24, 2003 she became entangled with another jumper in a high altitude jump.  She was able to free herself, but was unable to prepare for landing.  When she hit the ground, she broke her back.  She was paralyzed from the waist down.  SGT Mazyck was retired on April 27, 2005.  SGT Mazyck answered the call to serve her country with bravery and great sacrifice.  Wounded Warriors – Sons and Daughters of America thanks Sgt Mazyck for her service and commitment to our country.  SGT Mazyck attended the VA Disabled Ski Clinic in Snowmass Colorado 2005, where we had the opportunity to meet her.  Above are pictures from that event which portray her “get it done” attitude.

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