FORT HOOD, Texas - Friends and family of the 1st Cavalry Division gathered Sept. 25 to honor 28 troopers and recognize the efforts of nearly 30 volunteers at the Catering and Conference Center here.

The Soldiers, who were wounded in combat operations in Iraq, were presented Purple Heart Medals by Brig. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, the Fort Hood installation commander.

"No matter what I say, it'll be inadequate," he said to the wounded troopers after presenting each of them their medals.

Rudesheim said that although the ceremony is an important event for the wounded Soldiers, it is even more important for the other Soldiers and family members to recognize their efforts and sacrifices.

"We need to recognize you, we need to hold you up as heroes," Rudesheim said.

He explained that although there have been many changes in our lives since the formation of our nation, one thing has always remained the same. There will always be young men and women willing to put their lives on the line to defend that way of life.

"As a nation, we will always be counting on those selfless volunteers, and of course, their families, who willingly sacrifice so much of their own lives to defend people many of them have never met before," Rudesheim said.

One such Soldier, Staff Sgt. Fred Turner, a cavalry scout and Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander with Troop A, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was helping to protect the lives of his fellow troopers when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb.

Turner, an 8-year Army veteran from Austin, Texas, explained that he was in the lead vehicle of his convoy as they headed out on their late-night mission and was in the hatch of the Bradley, checking holes in the road for improvised explosive devices.

He said that checking the holes for IEDs was important to him because it minimized the risk to the rest of his Soldiers in the convoy behind him.

"I'd rather take the risk," Turner said, "rather than just drive by and possibly let someone else get hit."

Turner said that it was something he expected any noncommissioned officer would have done for their Soldiers. The 26-year-old father of two said that although he is glad to be home, the hardest part of coming home was seeing all the Soldiers with injuries worse than his own.