Secretary of the Army John McHugh was at the San Antonio Military Medical Center Wednesday afternoon to honor soldiers who have suffered combat-related injuries in Afghanistan. with Purple Hearts.
McHugh awarded five Purple Hearts to injured soldiers bed-side. Four other soldiers were honored in a special Purple Heart Ceremony.
“They joined at a time when they knew the greatest likelihood was they would go into harm’s way. They would be under fire. They would meet the enemy," he said.
These men are the few that are lucky enough to tell their story.
“Three personnel that were behind us with weapons that fired off a burst, and the second round hit me in the lower back just below my body armor and came out my stomach,” said Spc. Joshua Saul.
SSgt. Robert Geer was helping a fellow soldier who had just landed on an IED when he was injured.
“I was putting a tourniquet on. A soldier crossed him and stepped on a pressure plate also, which caused me to suffer injuries on my upper back all the way down to my knee,” Geer says.
SSgt. Bryan Wayland says it was a wake-up call for him.
“I obviously have a greater purpose in life because most people don’t walk away from that type of injury. They don’t walk away," he said. "If you survive you don’t have limbs."
He believes God had something else planned for him, and it wasn’t his time. Wayland says he may now pursue a new career in politics.