Purple heart
Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general for support, talks about the background of the purple heart before awarding it to Sgt. Joshua Nunley, a section chief assigned to B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery Aug. 17 here. Nunley's wife, Trista, son, Jacob, niece Jazmin and his mother-in-law, Libby attended the ceremony.

FORT SILL, Okla.-- "Attention to orders!" said 1st Lt. Miguel Arroliga, the human resource officer in charge assigned to 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery.

"By orders of the President of the United States of America, the Purple Heart Medal, established by Gen. George Washington, is awarded to Sgt. Joshua Nunley; given under my hand at Fort Sill, Okla. this 17th day of August 2012, signed the honorable John McHugh, Secretary of the Army."

Before a crowd of fellow service members and Nunley's family, Brig. Gen. Donald MacWillie, 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general for support, awarded the Purple Heart to the Soldier, a section chief assigned to B Battery, 2-18th FA at the battalion's war room.

Nunley was wounded in action while conducting combat operations in a convoy May 22, 2010 in Gardez, Afghanistan.

He then served with A Battery, 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery at Fort Lewis, Wash., in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The unit's mission on the day of the attack was to help recover some Afghan troops and their vehicles, which were hit by an improvised explosive device.

MacWillie and Command Sgt. Maj. Miguel Rivera, the 1st ID CSM, presented Nunley with a Purple Heart, as his wife, Trista, son, Jacob, and niece, Jazmin, stood beside him.

"The medal is not an award Soldiers strive to earn, but I am grateful to have it presented to me before my family and fellow Soldiers," said Nunley.

"I was the gunner in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle's turret," said Nunley.

Luckily, he had his secondary weapon in the turret with him, which was the squad automatic weapon.

The RPG hit the butt stock of the weapon which took most of the blast, said Nunley.

After realizing the fact that he could have lost his life, he said it was the scariest moment in his life.

"I am glad that I am healthy and still living to receive it, said Nunley.
As for his family, the moment stirred various emotions.

"I am extremely proud of him," said his wife. "But wish he would have never had to get it."
Following the formal ceremony, MacWillie, as well as dozens of service members lined up to shake Nunley's hand.

"Just as an American citizen, I am extremely proud of him," said Libby Horn, Nunley's mother-in-law and a retired senior noncommissioned officer who was also in attendance.

"Joshua is a wonderful father, son and, he is my hero," said Horn.

His niece shared similar feelings of pride in her uncle.

"My uncle is my hero and a picture of him hangs in my school," said Jazmin.

Page last updated Thu September 6th, 2012 at 12:52