Admiral James Winnefeld Jr. speaks at Purple Heart Ceremony

Vice chairman of Join Chiefs of Staff visits Brooke Army Medical Center

Author: Jenna Hiller, Reporter, jhiller@ksat.com
Published On: Oct 12 2012 04:32:20 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 12 2012 04:48:58 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

Two soldiers received Purple Hearts at a ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center where the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke.

Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation's second highest ranking military officer, visited Brooke Army Medical Center for a Purple Heart ceremony.

Two soldiers were honored with one of the most recognizable symbols of a military hero.

Spec. Jason Smith was injured on July 25 when he stepped on a pressure plate improvised explosive device while serving as an infantryman in Afghanistan.

On Nov. 24, 2011, Sgt. Paul Roberts was injured in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated during helicopter training in Afghanistan.

He said he was able to accept the Purple Heart because two pilots saved his life.

"If they didn't do as good of a job as they did, we would have lost six people that day," he said.

Roberts said there's too much focus on bloodshed and not enough attention on the good deeds soldiers do.

"A soldier getting a care package from home and literally taking one thing out of it and giving the rest of it to a little kid, just because he doesn't get any candy," he said.

Maj. Gen. Ted Wong called the Purple Heart a badge of honor, and said everyone should understand the sacrifice it represents.

"It symbolizes that these individuals have gone above and beyond the average citizen and sacrificed in the defense of our nation,"Wong said.

Winnefeld praised also praised the caregivers who drop everything to take care of wounded warriors.

"We're going to be taking care of these wonderful young men and women who have served so well overseas and have gotten hurt," he said.