Infantryman receives Purple Heart from Commandant
By Lance Cpl. Kathy A. Nunez
| Headquarters Marine Corps | February 12, 2014
BETHESDA, Md. --
9th Marine Regiment
Lance Cpl. Gregory A. Juedes received the Purple Heart from the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos at his hospital bed Feb. 10 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
“I’m not giving you the Purple Heart,” Amos said. “I’m awarding you the Purple Heart, Gregory.”
Less than three weeks prior, Juedes, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, observed the local Afghan population from a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle during a mounted patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
After bending over in the turret chamber to change a radio channel, he got up to see that no one was there.
Moments after recognizing the unusual behavior, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the front plates of the turret. As a result of the explosion, Juedes lost half of his right hand, broke his right arm and shrapnel severed the femoral artery in his right leg.
A Navy corpsman administered life-saving treatment while Juedes was transported to the operating room on Camp Leatherneck.
“He saved my life,” said Juedes, a native of Atlanta, Ga. “I’m lucky to have been put in the same vehicle with my corpsman.”
Amos said he strives to approach all Purple Heart recipients to ask them their story.
“Every one has a story, and each one is different,” Amos said. “We don’t set out to get the Purple Heart, but once it’s awarded, it’ll be the most important thing you wear on your uniform.”
For Juedes, the award is even more significant.
“Getting my Purple Heart pinned on to me symbolizes that I’m alive, and that I’m still here — that’s what means the most,” Juedes said.
Juedes knows that everything he once did with ease will take time to adjust. He will have to learn how to write with his left hand, and tasks as simple as getting dressed will become challenges.
“I just don’t have much of a right hand anymore,” Juedes said. “I know I’m different. I know things will be different, but I’m still me.”
219 days ago
God Bless you devil dog.
220 days ago
I've had the opportunity to talk with many of my fellow Marines in Afghanistan (Kandahar and FOB Salerno) over the past 4 years as I worked in Afghanistan and Africa as a contractor and I always came away humbled and impressed by their continued dedication to the Corp, and to each other.
221 days ago
Well done Marines. Well done.
221 days ago
Will you be doing an article on LCpl Casey Allison at Walter Reed when General Amos gives him the purple heart? I hope so. He told the Commandant his loss of his leg and hand "was just a paper cut"...compared to other losses of his fellow Marines
John P Kolb Jr
221 days ago
Semper Fi...63-67 and still strong as you will be too! After left leg amputation not sure what I was going to do, today I am working with my torch making glass hearts and getting ready to make a presentation at the local Chamber! You can do anything you mind desires...glad you are still alive. Feel free to contact should you desire one of the glass hearts I make!
222 days ago
Prayers for you and your family, and Thank you for your service.