Purple Heart ceremony honors five Iraq warriors
August 27, 2009
- Comedian George Lopez attended a Purple Heart ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center Aug. 7.
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Staff Sgt. Kelvin Hunt, Sgt. Juan Santiago Velazquez, Sgt. Torrey Kramer, Spc. Daniel Delbosque, and Pvt. Sean Beck took center stage Aug. 7 and were honored for their selfless service in Iraq, during a Purple Heart ceremony held at Brooke Army Medical Center's fourth floor auditorium.
More than 40 BAMC medical staff, comrades and Family members, including comedian George Lopez attended the ceremony.
"The Purple Heart ceremony was an opportunity to recognize five outstanding Soldiers for what they have done in service of our great country," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., commanding general, Brooke Army Medical Center and Great Plains Regional Medical Command, who pinned each honoree.
"We are truly indebted to their selfless service," he said.
The Purple Heart is received by members of the armed forces of the U. S. wounded in combat at the hands of the enemy, and given posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those killed in action, or who died of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration and the oldest military honor in the world in use. The Purple Heart was the first American medal made available to the ordinary Soldier.
Awardees include infantrymen, military policemen and combat engineers wounded by the enemy while serving in Iraq.
Hunt joined the Army in August 2001, "to continue a family tradition of patriotism to his country," he said. The combat engineer, assigned to the 509th Engineer Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, was injured while on patrol from an improvised explosive device.
Santiago Velazquez accepted the call to duty, after 9/11 to serve his country. A combat infantryman, Santiago Velazquez was assigned to A Company, 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. While on a routine convoy, his vehicle was struck by an IED.
Kramer, like Santiago Velazquez, joined the Army following 9/11. The infantry sniper was assigned to A Co., 1st Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He was injured while on mounted patrol, his vehicle, too, was hit by an IED.
After the Army, Delbosque plans on returning to school. "I joined the Army for self-improvement and to provide a life for my Family," said the Hewitt, Texas native. The military policeman of the 571 Military Police Co., 97th Military Police Bn., 89th MP Bde., was injured on patrol, struck by a piece of metal from a sniper round.
"I joined the Army to serve and protect my Family and country," said Beck, an infantryman assigned to A Co., 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Div. He was injured when an anti-tank grenade landed on the roof of his truck and exploded.