FORT STEWART, Ga. - On Aug. 5, two Desert Rogue Soldiers received the Purple Heart, a medal given to military men and women for wounds suffered in combat, for their wounds suffered during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sergeant Franklin Carabello, Jr., 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, was wounded when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated underneath the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle he was in outside of Mosul, Iraq, April 7. The blast killed 1st Lt. Robert Collins and Spc. William Anthony Blount, both 1/64 Armor. Sergeant Carabello suffered a torn PCL, sprained MCL and fractured tibula and fibula in the explosion.

Captain Matthew Boudro, 1/64 Armor, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID, suffered first- and second-degree burns when a vehicle-born IED struck his vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, May 13.

"This is a medal you don't really want to get," Capt. Boudro said after his wife, Katie Ward Boudro, pinned the medal on him. "But it's a reminder of this deployment, of my platoon, and especially of everyone who was in that vehicle with me."

After two months of therapy, Capt. Boudro returned to Iraq to finish the deployment with his platoon, Aug. 10. Sergeant Carabello, however, is unable to return.

"Every day since coming back on rear detachment, Sgt. Carabello comes to me and asked me to go back," said Capt. Bruce Erickson, 1/64 Armor rear detachment commander. "Unfortunately, he is unable to because of doctor's orders, but that hasn't stopped him from asking."

The Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington of the Continental Army in 1782 as the "Badge for Military Merit." After 1782, the award was discontinued until 1931, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur established a commission to revive the medal and bring it back to use, given to anyone serving in the Army who had received combat-related injuries. Prior to the adoption of the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal, it was given by the Army for meritorious service. The decoration was authorized for the Army by a War Department order of Feb. 22, 1932, and for Navy and Marine Corps personnel by a Navy Department order of Jan. 21, 1943, superseded by an executive order of Nov. 12, 1952.

"It is a great honor to present this award to these two great Americans," Capt. Erickson said.
After receiving the medal, each Soldier spoke.

"I'm thankful to be alive and to be here, especially because we lost two men in the same truck," Sgt. Carabello said. "I'll wear this [medal] in their honor."