MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Purple Heart medal has been awarded to service members and civilians since 1932 for wounds received in action against enemies of the United States and its allies.
On April 2, Lance Cpl. Jordan Buhler, a Marine with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, joined the estimated 1.7 million men and women who have received the medal.
The original Purple Heart medal was established by Gen. George Washington at Newburgh, N.Y., as the Badge of Military Merit, on Aug. 7, 1782, and was awarded to three soldiers of the American Revolutionary War.
On Nov. 25, 2006, Buhler, then a driver with 3rd Bn., 2nd Marines, dismounted from his vehicle to stop a suspected vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Cpl. Michael L. Ledsome dismounted with Buhler and both men began to approach the black sedan.
“We walked up to search the vehicle,” Buhler, a Hammond, La., native, recalled. “We had our weapons raised and told the driver to pull off to the side of the road.”
What happened in the seconds to follow would forever change Buhler.
“We were between six to ten feet away when the bomb went off,” Buhler explained. “It killed Corporal Ledsome and I was seriously injured. I lost a lot of blood.”
Shrapnel went into Buhler’s right foot, both his thighs and his left hip. A piece of shrapnel pierced his bladder and he lost consciousness several times while suffering from a concussion.
Buhler had two surgeries in Iraq and one in Germany before he was flown back to the United States for more medical treatment.
“I was at Bethesda for two weeks, and they performed three surgeries during that time,” explained the 2004 Ponchatoula High School graduate. Buhler then went on convalescent leave to begin the healing process but has at least one more surgery ahead of him.
Lt. Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, commanding officer of the battalion, presented the award to Buhler during a ceremony in front of a newly built memorial which honors the heroes of the battalion who have given their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“On that day, he demonstrated a lot of heroism by getting out of the vehicle,” said Desgrosseilliers as he recounted Buhler’s actions. “He did exactly what he was supposed to.”
After the ceremony, Buhler spoke with his friends and fiancé while Marines and sailors continued to congratulate him for his award and his actions.
“I feel honored because not everyone in the Marine Corps has the chance to get this award,” said Buhler, who has been in for almost three years. “I thought I was proficient at my job and did the best I could do.”