Saturday, March 19, 2005

COM: With all respect

A number of my former players, students and kids are in the armed forces. They probably know me well enough to know how i feel about war. I hope they also know how i feel about them, what they've chosen to do, and who they have become as human beings, and i hope that's never been in doubt. Here is a story from today's Kerrville Daily Times about one of those kids, one of my heroes . . .

Crunk receives Purple Heart
By Norma Guerra
Special to The Daily Times, Published March 19, 2005

SAN ANTONIO — Spc. Ryan L. Crunk of Kerrville was awarded the Purple Heart Thursday at Brooke Army Medical Center for injuries sustained on Jan. 30 in the War on Terrorism.

Col. Kurt W. Fuller, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, N.C., accompanied by his command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Riley, presented Crunk with the Purple Heart.

“There hasn’t been a day that we haven’t thought of you, and it is my honor and a privilege to be here with you today,” Fuller told Crunk as he pinned on the award.

Crunk, a paratrooper with the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, also was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in support of ground combat operations against anti-Iraqi forces while assigned as a rifleman.

Crunk is being treated for injuries to his right leg, hand and forearm from a grenade blast Jan. 30 in Mosul, Iraq. Part of his right leg was amputated March 2. Since the incident, Crunk has gone from Mosul to Kuwait, then to Germany, from there to his home base of Fort Bragg, N.C., and finally to BAMC.

In addition, Crunk was presented with a new unit coin by Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Riley. The coin, with a white falcon emblem, replaced the one Crunk lost with his wallet during the accident in Iraq.

“His performance during combat was a key factor in enabling his unit to defeat the anti-Iraqi forces and stabilize their zones in Baghdad and Mosul,” Fuller said.

Brig. Gen. C. William Fox Jr., BAMC commander, said “Here at BAMC, it is always an honor and a privilege to be a part of a Purple Heart ceremony. It is how we recognize these servicemen and women who have fought for our freedom. They serve with honor, dignity and pride."

Crunk, who has been here at BAMC since Feb. 7, said it was an honor for him to receive this award. “I receive e-mails from people I don’t even know letting me know how proud they are of me, and I am very touched by the love the community has had for me and my family. I want to thank everyone,” Crunk said. “I will drive on and get better and do the best that I can.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Crunk’s family, fellow soldiers, BAMC staff and guests from Kerrville.

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