CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The nation’s oldest military decoration, the Purple Heart Medal, was on display during a ceremony at the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Amphitheatre aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 1, 2011.
Cpl. Patrick K. Brown and Lance Cpl. Eric E. Hercules, military policemen with Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, were awarded the medal for wounds sustained when they struck an improvised explosive device during a routine combat logistics patrol in support of Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 1st MLG, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, August 29, 2010.
As they set out on the mission, these Marines were all too familiar with the danger they were going to encounter for the sixth time.
“This was their sixth time striking an IED (throughout the deployment),” said Lt. Col. Gary F. Keim, CLR-27 commanding officer. “They didn’t have to go back out and do this mission, but they’re Marines and that’s the commitment.”
It wasn’t about commitment that day, said Hercules. He was just doing his job.
“We aren’t better than any Marine that did or didn’t go out on the convoy, or any other for that matter,” said Hercules. “I just did my job that day. Nothing was keeping me from doing my job, so why stay (on the forward operating base)?”
He credited that attitude for keeping him moving forward in life, not just in the Marine Corps. He still looks back on that day and would do it all over again.
“I feel like you should do everything you can everyday because nothing is certain,” said Hercules. “If I could have gone back out after that (IED) blast I would have, but that was the one that got me.”
Despite being struck more times in one deployment than most Marines in their whole careers, these motivators are looking forward to deploying again.
“I’m looking forward to the next time out there,” said Brown. “It probably won’t get that crazy again, but it is part of the job so you have to be cautious of (IEDs).”
But he is quick to mention cautious is not the same as scared.
“You can be cautious of something without being afraid,” said Brown. “Being afraid affects your performance in your job. Being cautious will help save lives.”