Five Seabees Receive Purple Hearts

The emcee read his script. "March on the colors," he announced.

Once the colors were in place, he explained the reason for this parade field ceremony.

"We gather this morning to recognize five deserving Seabees," he said.

Those Seabees will never forget their deployment to Iraq's front lines. Four of them were wounded the day after New Year's. They were in a lead convoy vehicle sent out to deliver supplies across Iraq.

"We were coming up to a bridge," NMCB 133's Sean Sullivan remembered. "We stopped. We checked it out. And as soon as our front tires hit the bridge, it pretty much the whole thing blew up."

Commanders on the ground quickly heard that Sullivan, Jody Allen, Christopher Moran and Cody Cannon needed medical attention. Allen was hurt so bad, he got sent back to the states.

"I wish I could go back," he said four months later. "I didn't really want to come back here. I was kind of disappointed because all of my friends were over there. And that's where I wanted to be."

In recounting his ordeal, Allen remembered wandering around Iraq in a daze with face and hand injuries. The wounds were not evident when a naval rear admiral pinned a Purple Heart medal to his uniform.

"It hurt," Allen said of the injuries. "But that comes with it. That's just a part of it."

Almost two months after that incident, a barracks attack in Ramadi dropped steel girders on Richard Fisher. For the pain that member of NMCB's 133 endured, Fisher also received a Purple Heart.

"It represents really a lot of people who gave more than I did," he said, referring to the medics who kept him alive in the middle of a war zone. "It's just an honor to wear it really."

Their commander told the parade field crowd the five Seabees "knew all too well the risks involved and still wanted to be with their shipmates supporting the mission. That's the special type of bravery we're honoring."

Sean Sullivan wasn't sure about that. He was sure that if he was going to receive a Purple Heart, he wanted it to be presented just like it was.

"It meant that I'm alive. I'm here to get it. I wasn't somebody put in a coffin," he said.

The military awards a Purple Heart to anybody killed or injured on the battlefield. NMCB 133 just returned from the Iraqi war zone. The Seabees were on the parade field Monday to participate in the Purple Heart ceremony.