Congressman John Carter, R-Round Rock, and Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi presented retired Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Barfield with a Purple Heart Medal for injuries he sustained in 2007, during a ceremony at III Corps Headquarters on Monday.
For Barfield, the medal is the culmination of his 18-year military career. “I always felt as if there was one more thing,” he said. “Now my career is finally over.”
The award will live on as a part of his legacy, like his grandfather’s service was for him, Barfield said.
Ierardi praised Barfield’s service and sacrifice, as well as his post-Army work with the Georgetown Rail Equipment Company.
“We finally got you to the Great Place,” Ierardi said, remarking on the posts where Barfield was stationed, including South Korea and Fort Riley, Kan.
Barfield’s injury came about as he was working in Iraq in April 2007 with Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.
“Those were the dark days of Iraq,” Ierardi said. Acknowledging it had been six years since Barfield’s injury, “it is never too late to ensure proper recognition,” he said.
In attendance at the ceremony were Barfield’s fiancé, mother, daughter and two sons.
“I wanted it especially for the boys to understand dedication and honor,” Barfield said. He worked through his injury for 10 months, before being medically discharged from the military. He hopes his own children will feel the desire to drive on through any adversity that comes their way.
Carter called presenting the medal “one of the good things” his job requires. He thanked Barfield for his service, saying he wanted to ensure people get the medals they deserve.
“I hope the future is great to you and your family,” Carter said. “Enjoy working on the railroad.”
Barfield dedicated the medal to his fallen brothers and sisters, as well as to the soldiers who worked alongside him overseas.
“They made me who I am, and I owe my life to them,” Barfield said.