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Fort Hood honors wounded 1st Cavalry soldiers at Purple Heart and volunteer ceremony

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:55 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – One has been in the Army nearly 20 years, the other four. One is an infantryman, the other an armor crewman. Both were wounded in Iraq in May while serving with the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Stewart was a member of a Military Transition Team clearing areas of insurgents in Baqouba, Iraq, on May 24. While on the second day of a mission, he was shot in the lower part of his right thigh, he said. Spc. David Dale was inside a tank with fellow Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, soldiers on May 29 when it was hit by two roadside bombs. The first one exploded underneath the vehicle and knocked Dale out. He doesn't remember the second bomb detonating or the fire fight that followed. The specialist sustained a head injury, cracking his right eye socket.

Stewart and Dale were two of 29 1st Cavalry soldiers who were honored at Tuesday's Purple Heart ceremony. More than 30 volunteers were also recognized for their contributions to the division.

Friends, family members and soldiers packed the Fort Hood Catering and Conference Center for the ceremony; more than 100 people watched a live broadcast online at the division's Web site, www.cavcountry.net. This was the first time the ceremony was available online.

After the ceremony, Stewart and Dale talked about what their lives have been like since May.

Stewart said the hardest part of his recovery came in the weeks after he was shot. His wife had to pack and repack his wound twice a day, and the sergeant had to mentally and physically prepare himself for the pain. He is about 90 percent healed now and could go back by September, he said.

"I don't mind going, I don't mind staying," Stewart said.

He loves being back home with his wife and 15-year-old daughter, but he also loves being with his soldiers.

Stewart will hit his 20-year mark in two months. He doesn't know what he'll do when he retires after the division returns to Fort Hood. What does he want to do?

"Be a bum," he joked.

This was Stewart's ninth deployment, having served tours in Yugoslavia, Kuwait and four in Iraq.

"I got lucky," he joked again, saying that he deployed to Iraq four times, but he only got shot once.

Dale still isn't sure whether he will be allowed to stay in the Army or will get a medical discharge. If he is discharged, he wants to work in law enforcement, he said. Before joining active duty, Dale served in the Army Reserves from 2003 to 2004.

Because of his injuries, the 22-year-old now deals with headaches, memory loss, poor hearing and poor vision. Doctors are still determining if the right side of his face will make a full recovery. Dale had LASIK eye surgery before deploying in late 2006, he pointed out, and shrugged and laughed Tuesday before pointing to the right side of his face.

While on a tank crew, Dale mainly drove or served as the vehicle's loader. He said the unit was short of soldiers, and the men were trained to do any of the jobs within a tank.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7547

info box (please include purple heart graphic):

1st Cavalry Division Purple Heart recipients and volunteer awardees

Purple Heart recipients

1st Brigade Combat Team:

Spc. Joseph Bacani; 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained March 20

Staff Sgt. Troy Barnes; 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; wounds sustained May 5

Spc. Robert Rodriguez; 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 19

Sgt. William Barber; 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 19

Pvt. Robert Castro; 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 10

Sgt. Joseph Cotterman; 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; wounds sustained June 2

Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson; 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; wounds sustained June 2

Staff Sgt. Scott Brogan; 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; wounds sustained Jan. 14 and June 2

2nd Brigade Combat Team:

Staff Sgt. Cederick Barkley; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained Jan. 6

Staff Sgt. David Gaffney; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained Feb. 23

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Daughtry; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained March 17

Pfc. James Mills, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment; wounds sustained April 11

Spc. Edward Fulford, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment; wounds sustained April 19

Spc. Philip Petersen; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 4

Spc. James McDonald; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 31

Cpl. Joseph Marengo; 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained June 1

Spc. Pedro Garcia; 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained June 14

Staff Sgt. Mathew Benson; 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained June 17

3rd Brigade Combat Team:

Spc. Adam Grandow; 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained April 12

Spc. Jason Snead; 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained April 13

Spc. Dennis Stahl; 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 11

Sgt. Daniel Cowart; 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 13

Staff Sgt. Kevin Stewart; 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion; wounds sustained May 24

Spc. Mathew Nimesheim; 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 24

Spc. David Dale; 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained May 29

Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bernheisel; 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment; wounds sustained June 3

Sgt. David Gonzalez; 215th Brigade Support Battalion; wounds sustained June 18

1st Air Cavalry Brigade:

Spc. Robert Salmons; 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment; wounds sustained May 13

15th Sustainment Brigade:

Sgt. Ryan Fellenz; 1157th Transportation Company; wounds sustained May 19

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