By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – When Capt. David P. Coyle's Humvee was rocked by a roadside bomb Aug. 24, he was launched out the top hatch like Superman.
The incident left the 26-year-old Division Special Troops Battalion soldier with a broken left leg and road rash.
He was one of 15 1st Cavalry Division soldiers honored with Purple Hearts at a ceremony Tuesday morning.
Coyle came back to the United States in early September before most of the division even left for a deployment to Iraq. He was "really overwhelmed" by the support from the local communities, he said Tuesday. He said he expected the Army to take care of the wounded soldiers, but the outpouring from folks off post really amazed him.
Another thing that really impressed Coyle was the other soldiers honored at the Fort Hood Catering and Conference Center that day. A lot of them are young, he said, and want to go back as soon as possible to rejoin their buddies.
"It really is a brotherhood," he said.
That willingness to sacrifice for their friends, Army and country is something that made the event's guest speaker, Brig. Gen. Christopher Tucker, proud. Tucker is leader of West Fort Hood's Operational Test Command and is a former member of the 1st Cavalry.
The 15 soldiers "stood forward to protect fellow soldiers," Tucker said, and they are getting the recognition they deserve. He said he would not like to be anywhere else than standing alongside the "young heroes."
He quoted Gen. George S. Patton, saying, "Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men." The quote goes on to say, "It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory."
Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., the 1st Cavalry's commander, also thanked the soldiers in a taped message from Iraq. He spoke of the division's progress and thanked the Purple Heart recipients and their families for contributing "above and beyond."
He applauded the local communities, thanking them for helping him to take care of the soldiers' families in his absence.
Also at the ceremony, 30 volunteers were honored for their contributions to the division. Wendy Fil, the general's wife, and Col. Larry Phelps, division rear commander, presented each volunteer with a certificate and a gift for their work. Fil said the volunteers never cease to amaze her.
She also thanked the Purple Heart recipients for their heroic service, telling them they "make us proud to be American."
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547
1st Cavalry Division Purple Heart recipients
1st Brigade Combat Team:
Pfc. Rodrigo D. Granadino Quintana, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery
Staff Sgt. Patrick A. Gonzalez, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment
Pvt. Colin Lightfoot, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment
Staff Sgt. Cedric S. Fraiser, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment
3rd Brigade Combat Team:
Spc. Brian M. Gardner, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
Spc. Robert L. Mathews, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
Pfc. James T. Himes, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
Pfc. Frank P. Battiest, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment
Pfc. Pedro Esclarera, 215th Brigade Support Battalion
Sgt. Jimmy Cuello, 215th Brigade Support Battalion
Spc. Robert A. Marlowe, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment
Pfc. John J. Kilcommons III, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment
Lt. Col. Timothy Karcher, 3rd Brigade Combat Team
Division Special Troops Battalion:
Capt. David P. Coyle
1st Cavalry Division volunteer awardees
1st Brigade Combat Team: Marina Bigness, Jaime Cook, Amy Butler, Denise Wagner, Nyhma Tramel, Jessica Calderon, Deborah Olvera
2nd Brigade Combat Team: Jennifer French, Crystal Bobo, Elizabeth French, Kim Prince, Shannon Mason, Lucy Aldrich, Donna Kiernan
3rd Brigade Combat Team: Dorothy Green, Myra Wright, Christina Pedersen, Danielle Branley, Mary Thompson, Marlene Swingler
1st Air Cavalry Brigade: Elke Snyder, Allison Arrington, Carol Jessee, Aurelia Capinia, Misty Eastham
15th Sustainment Brigade: Karen Davis, Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Watley Jr., Karen Dinkleman
Division Special Troops Battalion: Melissa Watts, Master Sgt. Donald Cleveland