NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - During a ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier recently was awarded a Purple Heart Medal for injuries he received while deployed to Afghanistan.

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham presented the Purple Heart Medal to Sgt. 1st Class Irwin Alcantara, an AH-64 Apache helicopter armament and electrical repairman with Task Force Shooter, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, for injuries sustained during an insurgent attack on Forward Operating Base Fenty in November.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 13, FOB Fenty came under attack from insurgents with small-arms fire, suicide vests and hand grenades, which cavalry troopers of Task Force Shooter successfully defended. During the attack, Alcantara and several other Soldiers were injured. Insurgents threw hand grenades into the FOB, and shrapnel pierced AlcantaraAca,!a,,cs wrist.

Due to the extent of the damage to his wrist, Alcantara was medically evacuated from Afghanistan to the United States for surgery and rehabilitation. After his surgery, doctors feared he would not regain full use of his hand. However, after numerous physical therapy sessions, Alcantara regained almost 100 percent use of his wrist and hand.

Aca,!A"Sgt. Alcantara, you have met the challenge, and your nation is grateful for your service,Aca,!A? Abraham said. Aca,!A"It is a great honor for me to have this opportunity to offer thanks on behalf of your fellow countrymen for all you have done.Aca,!A?

Abraham also quoted Gen. George Washington when he created the Purple Heart. Aca,!A"Let it be known, that he who wears the Military Order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and will forever be revered by his fellow countrymen.Aca,!A?