Purple Heart Awarded to Afghanistan Veteran

GENESEO -- Soldiers of A Company 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry honored a former member of their unit here, March 19.

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Sgt. Eric Perkins was awarded the Purple Heart medal by Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler for injuries sustained while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

While on combat patrol July 21, 2008, then Spec. Perkins, was driving his Humvee as lead patrol vehicle, in the Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, when a male approximately eight feet from his vehicle detonated his suicide vest.  The shock of the blast knocked Perkins unconscious for a few seconds and all occupants of his vehicle.  When Perkins regained consciousness, “I thought the Afghan vehicle in front of us was hit until I looked around and saw all the dust flying around my vehicle”, Perkins said.

Perkins sustained a concussion as a result of the explosion.  The two other members of the vehicle sustained concussions and ruptured ear drums.

The Humvee driven by Perkins received substantial front end damage with front tires being blown and the engine leaking fluids.  Fortunately the vehicle was able to be driven a short distance away. 

Spec. Jason Mueller, a friend of Perkins and current member of the unit relays of the mission on July 21, 2008.  The purpose was for leadership to go to a police district and meet with the police chief and staff, while everyone else pulled security.  “It should have been a typical meet and greet. We received information we should leave immediately.”  Mueller, said. 

Shortly after leaving the area, the lead vehicle encountered some type of explosion.  “I wanted to make sure everyone was ok.  It was stressful,” Mueller said.  Eventually that same vehicle began to move reassuring him and other members of the unit. Normally, Mueller would have been inside the same vehicle as Perkins, but that particular day he was riding in the last vehicle. 

Perkin’s wife, Kasey Perkins said, “I am glad he is being recognized for his service and hard work. No wife wants to hear their husband is injured, but I was glad to hear the injuries were minor. We all have gained a new perspective on life.”

“It was great to have Perkins getting this award in front of his Soldiers he deployed with and his family.  He has already gotten out (completed his service obligation) and has come back to his Guard Family”, Lt. Col. Joseph Biehler, 2-108th Infantry Battalion Commander. 

Perkins now has his dream job of being a Monroe County Sheriff.  

“He has gone on and done great things in life,” Biehler said.

When asked about receiving the medal, Perkins said, “I’m excited I have not been forgotten about and they still think about me.”