FORWARD OPERATING BASE WILSON, KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN - The Army Chief of Staff awarded medals to Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), during a visit to Forward Operating Base Wilson, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 12.

Gen. George W. Casey pinned 5 awards that included, two Army Commendation Medals with Valor and three Purple Hearts. The Soldiers enjoyed receiving the awards from the Army's highest ranking officer.

"It was really great to have General Casey at the ceremony," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Perminas, a 32 year old native of Antiock, Il., who was given the Purple Heart for the shrapnel wounds he received to his lower back when a hand grenade exploded in the Zharay district, Oct. 2. "To meet him face to face was an honor and what he said was good to hear."

Casey spoke to a crowd of Strike Soldiers attending the ceremony and talked about the importance of the 2nd BCT's operation in Kandahar.

"You all know that you are the main effort in Afghanistan which is really the main effort in the War on Terror, said Casey. "You all got put into a tough fight and you are carrying a fight to the enemy in a way that I'm sure they never expected."

Before pinning the medals, Casey told the Soldiers their actions were affecting the International Security Assistance Force's progress in Operation Enduring Freedom.

"What's happening here right now is going to make a difference in ISAF's main effort and you're on the point," said Casey.

List of Awardees:

Army Commendation Medal with Valor

Pfc. Andrew Maxfield, Company C, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment. With disregard to his own safety, Maxfield ran across an open field to his fallen comrades while taking enemy fire. He provided medical aid and stabilized all of the wounded for medical evacuation.

Pfc. Jose Rosario, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Special Troop Battalion. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Rosario diligently worked to stop the bleeding of Master Sgt. (R) Robert Pittman until further help and assistance could be provided.

Purple Heart

2nd Lt. Taylor Murphy, Company B, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, received wounds to his wrist from a gunshot in the Zharay district, September 16.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Perminas, Company A, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, received shrapnel wounds to his lower back when a grenade exploded in the Zharay district, October 2.

Sgt. Michael Turner, Company A, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, received shrapnel wounds to his left thigh in the Zharay district, September 2.