Photo Information

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Major General Richard A. Huck, 2nd Marine Division Commanding General visited 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment presented Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Slattery with his Purple Heart. Huck also spoke to the Marines about the job they have been doing so far. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Photo by Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Division CG presents 3/8 Purple Hearts;

29 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Vincent A. Hawkins was riding in the passenger seat when an explosion went off wounding Hawkins. Lance Cpl. Hawkins stood in front of his peers as the 2nd Marine Division Commanding General presented him and seven other Marines with Purple Hearts for wounds they received while serving in Iraq. Major Gen. Richard A. Huck presented the awards to Gunnery Sgt. Brendan Slattery, Staff Sgt. Ronald Jacobs, Lance Cpls. John MacNaughton, Andrew Hulkow, Stephen R. Thompson, Nicholas Siewert and Vincent A. Hawkins, and Private Derrell Odom, thanking them for the sacrifice they made. “I was in the front passenger seat on the convoy when we got hit,” Hawkins explained. Two months ago Hawkins was on a re-supply convoy to his forward operating base when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device killing one and wounding himself and others. Hawkins was just one of many injured that day, sustaining shrapnel wounds to the face and hand along with a perforated eardrum. Hawkins was encircled by an all hands formation awaiting the arrival of the commanding general. Third Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment Battalion Commander, LtCol. Stephen M. Neary took a few moments explaining to Hawkins and the other Marines what the Purple Heart meant and where it came from. “I was kind of worried about having a two star general coming up to me and I had butterflies in my stomach the entire time,” Hawkins, a 2003 Armwood High School graduate explained. Neary finished speaking about the medal as the general approached the formation. Huck approached the first Marine in line to receive their awards after the citation had been read. He also took time to speak to each Marine, asking them how they sustained their wounds and how they were recovering. “It was a moment to remember, having a two star general and battalion commander present me with my Purple Heart,” Hawkins said. The Marines had all received their awards and then formed a circle around the CG as he took additional time to talk about what is happening around the country the Marines are fighting in. “Third Battalion, 8th Marines really had to step up when they prepped to come to combat earlier than expected back in January,” Huck said. He spoke about how the battalion has seen their fair share of combat and lost comrades in battle. “You are here to accomplish your mission and take care of each other,” Huck said. “You know what it means to be in combat.”