A Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade soldier was awarded the Purple Heart medal Dec. 14 for injuries he sustained Aug. 2, 2011, while on a patrol mission outside of Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq.
Brigade commander, Col. John Kolessar, presented the award to Sgt. Andrew Dauchy, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, during the brigade’s quarterly awards ceremony in the brigade’s campus courtyard.
The Greenville, S.C., native was attached to 3rd Cavalry Regiment when the blast from a 155-mm pressure plate improvised explosive device exploded about 16 feet from the patrol’s lead vehicle. The blast slammed Dauchy, who was the lead vehicle’s gunner, head first into the vehicle’s gun turret, subsequently knocking him out. The field artillery gunner sustained neck and back trauma, as well as a mild traumatic brain injury from the blast.
Dauchy said he is honored to receive the award and will wear it to honor two of his brothers-in-arms, Staff Sgt. Quadi Hudgins and Staff Sgt. Christian Garcia, who lost their lives during an April 2 attack on Contingency Operating Base Kalsu.
“It kind of goes out to them to show that they didn’t die in vain,” he said.
The attack happened five days before his unit was returning to the U.S.
“It’s ironic that I spent 27 months during two deployments to Iraq, and this happened at the very end,” said the 38-year-old Dauchy who joined the Army in 2006 following a career as a Los Angeles film production assistant on several movies starring Adam Sandler.
Dauchy also appeared in the 2003 horror movie, “Darkness Falls.”
“I wanted to do something bigger and better,” he said about leaving the movie-making business.
On hand during the ceremony was Master Sgt. Edward Huffine from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who witnessed the blast on the digital command and control system during the brigade’s turnover with 3rd Cavalry Regiment. He was at the ceremony, not for Dauchy, but for a former transition brigade soldier now assigned to Huffine’s unit.
“I heard his name,” Huffine said, “and it was like ‘wow,’ I saw it when it happened. It’s pretty awesome to see him receive the award and learn that he’s OK.”