MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines and sailors with Company B, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathered outside the battalion’s headquarters building aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., to award two Marines the Purple Heart Medal, May 20, 2011.
The Marines receiving the medals were Sgt. Jared Mount and Lance Cpl. Michael Politowicz, for wounds received in combat during their deployments to Afghanistan.
Mount was attached to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, in 2010 during the battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan. As a squad leader with Company A, he was injured when his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device during a mounted patrol.
“Upon returning to Camp Lejeune, I had to have a plate with eight screws put into my leg and ankle when I went into surgery,” said Mount. “I did about six months of physical therapy after recovering from surgery.”
Politowicz was attached to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, as an automatic rifleman with Company A during the battalion’s last deployment to Afghanistan, when he was struck by an IED on a foot patrol.
“I was about one yard away when the IED went off,” said Politowicz. “It blew me back about three yards and I received shrapnel in my forearm.”
As the company came to attention, Politowicz and Mount marched front and center to receive their awards from the company first sergeant and the commanding officer.
“Understand that the Marines who wear this medal on their uniform have sacrificed something,” said 1st Sgt. Luis Leiva, the first sergeant for Company B. “Something has happened to them. Individuals who wear the Purple Heart were out there in the fight, and many of them never return.”
As the ceremony came to a close, Leiva stressed the importance of Marines being recognized for their sacrifices.
“We will not falter for what we stand for. Sergeant Mount received his wounds back in 2010 and is now getting his award,” said Leiva. “We do what we can to ensure Marines get the awards they deserve. Many of them have paid with limbs or even their lives.”
After the ceremony, the Marines from the company shook hands with Politowicz and Mount, not only congratulating them on their award, but welcoming them back to the unit after a long recovery.
“I’m just happy to be alive,” said Mount. “I’m in the process of re-enlisting now that I’m healthy.”