ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (5/15/10) – Colorado Army National Guard Sgt. Martin “Marty” May received the Purple Heart at a ceremony held at the Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church.
He was personally presented the Purple Heart by COARNG Commander Col. Dana M. Capozzella.
On Sept. 30, May was shot in the face while serving in Ramadi, Iraq as a gunner with Colorado’s 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery.
May was the only Soldier wounded in action during the unit’s deployment.
A sniper’s bullet struck him below his right eye and exited through his left eye. He was immediately medically evacuated to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, for emergency treatment. Follow-on treatments at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany were unsuccessful in saving his left eye.
May was also awarded an Army Commendation Medal and a Combat Action Badge during the ceremony. His wife, Wendy, received a coin from Capozzella.
Also in attendance were COARNG Land Component Commander Brig. Gen. Robert Balster, COARNG Command Chief Warrant Officer Linda Blincoe, COARNG State Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Lousberg, 169th Fires Brigade Commander Col. Gregory Miller, 3-157th Commander Lt. Col. Al Morris and 3-157th Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Koob.
The Purple Heart is the oldest American military decoration still in use. Gen. George Washington presented the Badge of Military Merit to the Continental Army in the form of a purple heart on Aug. 7, 1782, to recognize “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way.” The U.S. War Department revived the medal on February 22, 1932, as the Purple Heart.