Herald/DAVID MORRIS - Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond pins a Purple Heart medal on Pfc. Nathan J. Morris Thursday at Club Hood. Morris, a soldier in the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team was injured on Jan. 29 in Iraq.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – The men honored Thursday were wounded in four of the most difficult battles the 4th Infantry Division encountered in Iraq.

When it came time to fight, these men – Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Reeves, Staff Sgt. Seth T. Gay, Spc. Marvin E. Mancia and Pfc. Nathan J. Morris – had only two words.

"Yes, sir," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond, the division's commander.

The four soldiers were honored with Purple Hearts Thursday at Fort Hood. Hammond pinned the medals on in front of the soldiers' families and peers. Purple Hearts are given to those wounded or killed in action.

Hammond returned from Iraq as head of Multinational Division-Baghdad on Feb. 11. Reeves, Gay, Mancia and Morris came back to Fort Hood before their general.

Reeves is a soldier in the division's Special Troops Battalion and was injured Nov. 20. Gay is a soldier in the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team who was injured Jan. 13. Mancia, also in the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor was injured five days later. Morris, who is in the same battalion was injured Jan. 29.

While the Special Troops Battalion has returned to Fort Hood, friends and families eagerly await the 1st Brigade's return. Its first main body flight is scheduled to arrive March 7.

Reeves, Gay, Mancia and Morris stood up and went into battle knowing they could be injured or not come back. They knew there was always that chance in the back of their minds, Hammond said.

The security situation improved in Iraq during the division's deployment, but that didn't mean the threat wasn't present. The soldiers never knew where that attack would occur, Hammond said.

The general addressed the soldiers, families and community members at the ceremony Thursday, saying the four soldiers who sat before them were "your credentials."

"Never forget that," he added.

Reeves, Gay, Mancia and Morris were injured, Hammond went on to say, and they are going to recover.

"And we, now and forever, always stand behind you."

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

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For more on this story, including how Spc. Marvin E. Mancia and his family have carried on since he was injured in Iraq, read next week's Fort Hood Herald.

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