Mississippi Soldier awarded Purple Heart
July 13, 2012
GEORGE A. MORRIS ARMY RESERVE CENTER, Vicksburg, Miss.-- Staff Sgt. Amesha Gross, a native of Tunica, Miss., received the Purple Heart award for wounds received in action on March 25, 2008 while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The award was presented by Maj. Gen. William M. Buckler, Jr., commander of 412th Theater Engineer Command, during a special ceremony held here during the unit's batle assembly on July 8, 2012, and in the presence of her family, friends and the Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 412th Theater Engineer Command.
Buckler thanked Gross for her courage, commitment and duty to answer the nation's call and congratulated her on her well-deserved award. He also acknowledged her family for their endless support and sacrifices, allowing Gross and her unit to focus and complete their missions overseas and here at home.
Gross echoed the commanding general's message reference the importance of family support in a Soldier's life. In her case, she's grateful to her sister, Rosaland Mixon, for her love and support and always being there for her and her 5-year old son, Carmello Miles. It makes a big difference, especially if I have to be away from home to tend to my military obligations, she said.
In March 2008, while deployed in Baghdad with Det. 18, the political movement of the powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched a nationwide civil disobedience campaign across Iraq to protest raids and detentions against the Mahdi Army. U.S. compounds were bombarded with daily rocket and mortar strikes.
On March 25, 2008, a 250m rocket struck the compound and destroyed nearly 15 armored vehicles and a protective T-wall. Gross and Sgt. Maj. Shirley Warner-Preacely, situated less than 20m away from impact, sustained injuries and were transported to the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Bagdad.
"When the incident occurred, everyone told us that we were supposed to be dead and all I could think about was my one year old child that my sister was caring for. It would be unfair to my son to grow up without a mother. It was also not be fair to my sister, whom had just gotten married, to become responsible for my child, even though I knew that she would have done a marvelous job. My son was still my responsibility and God saw fit for me to remain here for the both of them," said Gross.
"God said in his word 'no weapon formed against me shall prosper' even though the circumstances surrounding this incident could have left me dead, I knew that God was still in charge of my life," she said.
Gross joined the Army in 1997, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and works for the Mississippi Gaming Comission.