Charmain Z. Brackett
FORT GORDON, Ga., -- (March 5, 2009) A few months after his 40th birthday, Staff Sgt. Terry Chism decided to aid his country by joining the Army.
"When I enlisted, I wanted infantry. I went straight to Iraq," said Chism, who joined in October 2004 and was injured in Iraq in February 2008.
Chism and Master Sgt. Royce Harvey both received Purple Heart Medals for injuries received in Iraq in a Feb. 27 ceremony at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center's auditorium.
"We're here today to honor two American heroes," said Brig. Gen. Donald Bradshaw, Southeast Regional Medical Command and Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center commander.
Bradshaw said the two men honored have a lot in common. Both are natives of Mississippi. Both were injured on road clearing duties; and both suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Chism served in the Marine Corps from 1981 to 1987.
His brother, Greg, is currently serving his third tour in Iraq with the Army and his son, Christopher, is a Marine, who recently returned from Iraq.
Chism was injured when the RG-31 mine protected tactical vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and threw the vehicle 175-feet. He suffered a brain contusion.
Harvey was injured in August 2007 when his Buffalo encountered an IED during a route clearing mission. The incident also involved rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.
He received a concussion in the incident.
The auditorium had a capacity crowd including two Georgia lawmakers, Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.).
"Not enough can be said, not enough accolades can be given. Thank you for your sacrifices in keeping us free as a nation," said Broun.