By Sgt. Robert Schaffner, The Frontline StaffOctober 28, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga.
While on his third deployment to Iraq, Staff Sgt. Coy Hartman was returning from a mission with other 4th Advise and Assist Brigade Military Police after training Iraqi Police, when their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle was struck by a Ruchnaya Kumulyativnaya Granata (Handheld Shaped Charge Grenade) in Fallujah, Iraq, Aug. 9. The grenade caused extensive damage to his thigh and ankle. Another Soldier in the vehicle suffered injuries as well.
"We became suspicious when we noticed Iraqi Police were not at their check points and the neighborhood was empty," said the squad leader assigned to 4th AAB's only Military Police Platoon, the Punishers. "Before we could do anything it was too late."
Staff Sergeant Hartman, 38, was presented the Purple Heart by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, in front of more than a hundred rear detachment Soldiers and well wishers at Marne Garden, Oct. 21.
After several surgeries and two months of hospitalization, Staff Sgt. Hartman's strength and commitment remain strong, not just to the Army he joined after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but to his Family at home in Florida and his fellow Soldiers in Iraq.
In his case, as in so many others, the Purple Heart symbolizes the resolve of a Soldier to get back to fighting shape and to the Family that supports him - not only his wife of 15 years, Angela, but also his extended Family in uniform, said Brig. Gen. Phillips.
"I made the notification home myself from Iraq," said Staff Sgt. Hartman. "They wheeled my gurney over to a phone where I called to break the news to my wife. I did not want anyone else to do it.
"Without my wife Angela's support, I would not be anywhere close to where I am at today," said the six-year Army veteran. "I am almost [back to] 100 percent, and hopefully I will go back (to Iraq) soon, I want to get back to my unit and squad and finish the mission with them."
Staff Sergeant Hartman expressed his gratitude to the 4th IBCT Family Readiness Group.
"The FRG mobilized to help keep my wife well informed," said Staff Sgt. Hartman. "The FRG said 'anything you need, we and the rear (detachment) are here for you.'"
What Staff Sgt. Hartman said began as "four (year)- and-out enlistment" has turned into much more. "The best part (of the Army) is the influence I have over the younger Soldiers," he said. "I am fortunate to have great noncommissioned officers above me. I love (the Army)."