|Oregon Army National Guard soldier receives Purple Heart Medal
MEDFORD, Ore. -- Staff Sgt. Aaron Johnson, from Company A, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, was awarded a Purple Heart Medal during a ceremony at the Medford Armory, March 6, for injuries he sustained four years ago while deployed to Iraq.
Johnson received facial wounds while on patrol in northern Baghdad, on May 20th, 2004, with 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, when his vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive Device as he returned to Camp Victory. After confirming all occupants of the vehicle were safe, Johnson drove his badly damaged vehicle into the base.
Brig. Gen. David B. Enyeart, Assistant Adjutant General (Army), awarded Johnson the medal for his actions after sustaining injuries from hostile fire.
"With the Purple Heart medal, someone is dedicated enough to go to combat and give their lives," Enyeart said. "Many of these awards were given to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, thankfully this wasn't the case."
Johnson, who was reluctant to speak about the award, said many of the real heroes in today's military are the families of deployed soldiers.
"There are a lot of sacrifices being made outside of the uniform," Johnson said. "I hope the communities can get together to help the soldiers sleep better at night by helping to protect our loved ones."
The Purple Heart dates back to 1782, when Gen. of the Army George Washington gave out the medal to three soldiers that served with him. The medal was called the Badge of Military Merit and featured a picture of Washington on the face of the medal. Over the following years the name of the medal changed. But to this day its design still features the face of the nation's first president.
Johnson is scheduled to deploy to Iraq again later this year with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Johnson, from Company A, , 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, receives a Purple Heart medal for wounds sustained while serving in Iraq, from Brig. Gen. David Enyeart, Assistant Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, in Medford, Ore., March 6. Johnson was wounded when his vehicle struck an Improvised Explosive Device in Baghdad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Brig. Gen. David Enyeart, Assistant Adjutant General (Army,) talks about Staff Sgt. Aaron Johnson's actions in Iraq after receiving wounds from an improvised explosive device near Baghdad in 2004. Johnson, from Company A, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, received a Purple Heart medal in Medford, Ore., March 6. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)
Capt. Stephen Bomar
Oregon Military Department
Public Affairs Office