CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Standing in front of his peers from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Lance Cpl. Tony L. Mallett, an Orange, Mass., native, was awarded the Purple Heart.
Lieutenant Col. Stephen M. Neary, Commanding Officer, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and Brig. Gen. James L. Williams, Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Marine Division, presented Mallett’s award during William’s visit here.
“I remember the explosion going off, but after that I was hazy and didn’t remember much,” said the 2003 Franklin County Technical School graduate.
Mallett was on a security patrol early in the deployment to inspect the site of a vehicle bomb attack on a patrol from the previous day. It was on this patrol that he was wounded by the detonation of a roadside bomb.
Mallett sustained wounds to the hands from shrapnel and was thrown from the vehicle when it overturned as a result of the bomb blast.
“We have to stay vigilant, but going out after that first attack, I was nervous and ready to be back out at the same time,” Mallett explained.
Mallett called home to reassure his family that he was okay. His family supports him through his decisions that brought him to Iraq to fight in the Global War on Terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s difficult to explain to my family that even though I was hurt, I wanted to stay out with my Marines,” explained Mallett. “They (my family) asked about all the other guys in the squad because they know them.”
Mallett’s family’s support has not wavered. He is close with his family and that is one of the things that helped him get through the tough times.
“My parents support me and are very proud of me and what I am doing,” Mallett explained. “We have always been a close family as I was growing up.”
Laughter is also one of the things he uses when facing the tough days out in the battalion’s area of operation. He has been on numerous convoys and patrols in his time here and on many of those he encountered enemy attacks ranging from roadside bombs to direct small arms fire.
“After being hit so many times, you have to be able to laugh it off sometimes,” he explained.
Mallett and his comrades from Company I continue pushing forward through the tough times during their deployment here. Those who have been wounded, like Mallett, have made every effort to get back out with their fellow Marines, to stay in the fight. They are determined to fulfill their part to help eliminate insurgent activity in their piece of the battlefield.