NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Two Soldiers of the Ohio National Guard were awarded the Purple Heart on April 10 during a ceremony in front of families and fellow Soldiers at the Army Aviation Support Facility #1 at the Akron-Canton Airport.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Futrell, an aviation operations noncommissioned officer, and Sgt. Tristan Meyers, a helicopter mechanic, received their awards for injuries sustained during the Jan. 8, 2020, Iranian missile strike against Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. Futrell and Meyers were deployed with the 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment based in North Canton.
“I am grateful for the benefits that come with the Purple Heart, and I am deeply appreciative of the treatment I have received to get back to normal [in light of] these injuries,” Meyers said.
Futrell was also thankful to receive the Purple Heart. "The award has promoted healing by providing closure to the event," he said. “I am proud of my service and, even though it was cut short, I am happy to have served in this organization with so many great people.”
Both Soldiers thanked their families and unit leadership and colleagues for supporting them.
Capt. Michael Knott, Meyers and Futrell's commander during the deployment, praised the Soldiers for their actions on the day of the attack.
“These guys remembered their training during times of complete chaos and selflessly executed their duties without fail, for which I could not be prouder,” Knott said. “Their diligence and commitment to our mission helped to bring each and every one of our Soldiers home safely, and I will forever be grateful for that.”
The Purple Heart medal is awarded on behalf of the president of the United States to service members who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action during combat.