By Hiro Chang, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsAugust 4, 2008
Presidio of Monterey -- Army Staff Sgt. Eric Murray was awarded the Purple Heart Aug 1.
Murray received the medal more than a year after being shot in the lower portion of his right leg during a firefight in Bermel, a city in Paktika province, Afghanistan during his deployment in 2006 to 2007.
"I was attached to an infantry battalion when it happened and shortly afterwards I got moved to other places back then, but the paperwork got lost in the shuffle," Murray said.
Murray got help from his old platoon leader, Capt. Ward Yoder, who was here tracking his paperwork to get the award he deserved.
"I was fortunate that... Capt. Yoder was here to track it down for me," Murray said.
Murray, who's been learning Pashtu, was pinned by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center commandant, Col. Sue Ann Sandusky at the Presidio's Price Fitness Center in front of fellow students of DLIFLC.
"I don't think the other (Soldiers) know about my award," Murray said. "I don't really talk about it much."
He was happy to have received the award after the long wait.
"It's nice to finally have it," Murray said. "I'm fortunate because a lot of people aren't around to get this award."
Murray humbly mentioned the fact that many Soldiers today have seen deployments and that it wasn't as unique an experience for the Army anymore.
"Around here it's kind of a common thing now," Murray said. "When I was here about five years ago, nobody had a combat patch, now it looks like everyone's got a combat patch," he added.
Murray, who received a Bronze Star for bravery during a firefight when he attempted to pull a wounded Soldier before he got shot, recognized that the younger service members are interested in the experiences he's had as a veteran military intelligence Soldier.
"I think a lot of the younger guys think it's interesting," Murray said. "You come in as a military intelligence person; you don't really think you're going to be out there in the stuff," he added.
Murray remarked that being military intelligence doesn't exclude you from performing other missions that are vital to the mission.
"Maybe it'll open there eyes and give them the realization of what's going on right now and that'll be a good thing that they learn from that," Murray said.