Two Soldiers injured in Afghanistan received Purple Hearts during a ceremony Jan. 30 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Secretary of the Army Pete Geren pinned the medals on the uniforms of Sgt. Justin Smith and Pfc. Quinterra D. Peake before giving their family members pins in appreciation of their sacrifice and service to the nation as well.

Smith, who during a previous ceremony at WRAMC was awarded the Bronze Star for "exceptional meritorious service" in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) by Geren, was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he suffered as a result of an improvised explosive device June 6, 2007. A team leader assigned to the 1st Platoon Bravo Company, 70th Engineer Company, Fort Riley, Kan., Smith was injured while conducting route clearance operations in Pakitka Province, Afghanistan.

The Bronze Star may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ninth highest military award (including both combat and non-combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations.

Peake was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he received Sept. 28, 2008, when a rocket propelled grenade hit his tower in Camp Herrera, Afghanistan. Peake is a tower guard assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.

The Purple Heart is the U.S. military's oldest and one of its most distinguished decorations. It is awarded to servicemembers wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16