BAGHDAD, Iraq - On June 2, Spc. Christian Cowan, a Combat Medic with Apache Troop, 6th 'Saber' Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division " Center, and a Van Buren, Ark. native, was awarded the Purple Heart at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

The Purple Heart is the oldest award that is still given to United States military personnel having been first given out by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who has been wounded, killed, or died after being wounded while serving in any action against an enemy of the United States.

On April 1, Spc. Cowan was wounded by sniper fire while he and his platoon set up traffic control points in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq. The bullet fired by the sniper initially struck a ballistic protective plate in his body armor before it ricocheted and penetrated his right arm between the bicep and triceps muscles.

As a combat medic, Spc. Cowan is trained and prepared to treat Soldiers who sustain these injuries, but he is thankful for the Soldiers around him that day that helped him when he became wounded.

"I am very thankful for Sgt. 1st Class Hanover, Pfc. Evans, Pfc. Goodnow, Pfc. Mitchell, and the rest of the platoon on that day because their quick actions of treating my wound and getting me back to the Combat Support Hospital helped saved my life. I am especially thankful for Pfc. Mitchell because he helped me apply the tourniquet to my arm to help stop the blood flow to the wound," said Spc. Cowan.

While he is thankful for the actions of his platoon on that day to save his life, he is even more thankful that he can stay in the fight with them on their current deployment in Iraq.

"I thank God that I am still alive and that I still have the ability to serve with my friends here in Iraq," said Spc. Cowan about how his injury has not slowed his ability to serve with his unit.

Saber Squadron recently finished its fourth month of its twelve month deployment to Iraq. In these four months, Saber Squadron has partnered with the 4th Federal Police Division to provide essential training and assistance to these Iraqi Forces in Baghdad, Iraq. In these final eight months, the squadron will play a pivotal role in providing security to southern Iraq as a part of the re-posturing of forces.

"I'm not ready to go home yet," said Spc. Cowan. "I want to be here with the rest of my unit to finish out this mission and I am not going to let this wound stop me."