MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When Marines deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, they all try to bring a piece of home with them, something that reminds them not only of what they left behind, but also what they’re fighting for. Unfortunately for some Marines, they end up bringing a piece of Iraq home, in the form of pieces of metal from a roadside bomb or battle scars from enemy attacks.
Sergeant Matthew P. Dalrymple, 26, of Chillicothe, Ohio was awarded the Purple Heart medal with a gold star in lieu of second award here Jan. 10 for injuries sustained while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Dalrymple, a tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided (TOW) missile system gunner with 2nd Tank Battalion, was performing patrols in Karma, Iraq, at the time of the incident. While his team was sweeping the northern security area, a roadside bomb went off.
Dalrymple received shrapnel to both arms. Rather than get the shrapnel surgically removed, he was advised to leave it in.
“Doctors said surgery would do more harm than good,” said Dalrymple, a 1998 graduate of Chillicothe High School. “It doesn’t bother me.”
Dalrymple played baseball in high school. He gave up playing one of America’s favorite pastimes to protect his country and everything it stands for, he said.
He joined an elite team and continues to sacrifice himself for freedom.
Dalrymple was involved in three roadside attacks while deployed to Iraq, and was insured during the first and third incidents. His first injury came from a roadside bomb, where he received shrapnel in his right hand.
Dalrymple shied away from being recognized, but was still proud to receive the award. For him, it was just another day in the Corps.
“I always wanted to be a Marine and I just decided to do it,” said Dalrymple on joining the Marine Corps.
After four years of service, Dalrymple looks forward to his future and is proud to be a Marine.