Sgt. 1st Class McCarthy Awarded Purple Heart

08/02/2021  | 
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Maj. Gen. Andrew Juknelis presented Sgt. 1st Class Justin McCarthy a Purple Heart during a small ceremony at the 108th Training Command Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, June 6, 2021.

McCarthy received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Iraq June 2007. During convoy operations, he was serving as the .50-cal gunner behind the lead vehicle. 

“I love to see the Army get it right! It’s important that we recognize his sacrifices and those of others who have been through such ordeals for our great Country.”

— Maj. Gen. Andrew Juknelis

The blast from an improvised explosive device tore open the vehicle and knocked him unconscious, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

Due to the rules on TBIs at the time, his leadership’s Purple Heart submission for McCarthy was denied in theater. However, in 2011, the policies on TBIs and Purple Hearts changed, and McCarthy was asked to resubmit his documentation.

After gathering all the paperwork again and waiting for the lengthy board process, which goes up to the Pentagon, this wounded warrior was finally awarded the Purple Heart.

McCarthy said that receiving the medal, after all these years, shows the Army’s progress in recognizing TBIs.

“I feel honored that the Army identified the issues of Purple Hearts associated with TBIs and have attempted to correct that for those who were denied it, even though they met the regulation requirements.”

Being able to recognize Soldiers like McCarty was not only a privilege, but it was an example of progress in the right direction, said Juknelis.

“I love to see the Army get it right! It’s important that we recognize his sacrifices and those of others who have been through such ordeals for our great Country,” he said.

And the fact that McCarty still serves the Nation, right here in the 108th Training Command, is something the Commanding General is proud of.

“We’re very fortunate to serve in this command with Soldiers like Sgt. 1st Class McCarthy,” said Juknelis. I’m honored to have been here for this presentation and personally want to thank Sgt. 1st Class McCarthy and his family.”

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