Sgt. Ralph Cipriati, Sgt. Sean Hook and Spc. Miguel Romos, three former Soldiers assigned to the Keller Army Community Hospital Warrior Transition Unit, were presented Purple Heart medals Thursday, during a Warrior Care Month banquet hosted by the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at the West Point Club.
"The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy. It is one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to Service members," said Col. Felicia Pehrson, West Point Health Service Area commander. "We are so very pleased and proud to be able to present the Purple Heart medal to three very deserving former Soldiers."
There were three separate incidents that lead to each individual Soldiers' nomination to receive a Purple Heart for actions displayed while deployed defending their nation.
Cipriati was stationed in Afghanistan in 2010 when his unit was attacked by mortar rounds. While running to his battle position, an incoming mortar round blew up around 50 to 75 meters from his position, knocking him unconscious.
Cipriati, who was previously awarded the Bronze Star, stated that he never expected to receive this kind of award; However, he was very humbled and honored to receive this award.
In 2008 while stationed in Iraq, Ramons was the tactical commander in a three-vehicle convoy en route to Bagram Air Force Base when a vehicle suspected of carrying a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or VBIED, tried to ram his vehicle. The driver of the Humvee attempted evasive maneuvers, which caused the Humvee to flip and roll over on the road. Ramos suffered a loss of consciousness and was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI.
While on dismounted patrol in Iraq in 2009, an improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated approximately eight meters from Hook's location. He recalls experiencing a feeling of slow motion and some confusion. When recovered, he noticed another injured Soldier screaming, so then ran to pull him to cover. He was then hit on the hip by a projectile.
In a separate incident in 2009 while still stationed in Iraq, Hook was conducting another dismounted patrol when a VBIED exploded approximately 150 meters from his location. He was thrown against a T-wall barrier and struck in his groin protector by shrapnel. Hook was diagnosed with TBI.
"It was never my intention to receive an award like this. Just like everyone else in the Army, I was only doing my job." said Hook.
Article by Britney L. Walker, Army Medicine