FORT HOOD — Laquita Ewell said she knew when she married her husband, there could be sacrifice, but she never imagined it would be her soldier who was wounded in Iraq.
“That day surprised me; it freaked me out,” she said of June 6, 2011.
On that day, while Sgt. Brian Ewell was deployed with a field artillery battalion out of Fort Riley, Kan., indirect fire hit the base while he was sleeping.
“I woke up to my (housing unit) being hit,” said the sergeant, now assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. He said he remembers hitting his head on the floor and a sergeant first class covering him.
“It was pretty much a bad day,” Brian Ewell said.
After the attack, paperwork was started for the soldier to receive a Purple Heart Medal, but it somehow got misplaced.
On Wednesday, Ewell finally received his medal during a ceremony outside his brigade’s headquarters building. His wife, two children and church pastor were there to watch.
“With a Purple Heart, there’s a lot of benefits the state gives in Texas,” said 1st Sgt. David Carr, who worked in the brigade personnel office when the efforts to get Ewell’s medal began about 16 months ago. He’s now first sergeant for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and had glowing remarks about Ewell’s abilities as a soldier.
“He’s a go-getter,” Carr said. “I haven’t given him a mission he’s not completed.”
After coming home in 2011, the Ewell family was reassigned to Fort Hood and the sergeant was diagnosed with a concussion and traumatic brain injury. He spent eight months in treatment at the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. He struggles with memory issues. He said it took many therapy sessions to enable him to talk openly about what happened.
The support of his wife and two children, as well as his faith in God, aided his recovery process, he said.
“It’s been the foundation,” Ewell said. “Everything I do, I do for my family.”
Laquita Ewell said their faith also helped her stay strong for him.
“Without my faith, I probably would have broken down ... and would not have been able to come to grips with the fact that I almost lost my husband.”