AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Rick Perry presented a Texas National Guardsman with the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with “V” Device for acts of heroism and the Combat Medical Badge during a ceremony at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, Nov. 1, 2012. Perry, commander-in-chief of the Texas National Guard, honored the service member's sacrifice, as well as the numerous Texans and Americans who have served during the past decade.
“The young men and women of this generation have been asked to perform on battlefields in Iraq, and Afghanistan, standing up against the forces of terror at home and abroad,” Perry said. “Without their willingness to give their all, if required, America would be nothing but a sad footnote in history, a place that held great promise, once upon a time.”
Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Rogers, Jr., of Galveston, Texas, a flight medic assigned to the Texas Army National Guard’s Austin- based 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, received the citations from Perry, on behalf of the U.S. Army, for his actions this past June and July while he was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Task Force Wolfpack, a subcomponent of the 4th Platoon at Forward Operating Base Salerno in the province of Khowst, in southeastern Afghanistan, which is near the country’s border with Pakistan.
“Today, we are honoring a particularly brave individual,” Perry said. “Staff Sgt. Patrick Rogers not only served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, he also served as medic, which means he didn’t really get involved until things had gone really bad.”
After sustaining injuries during an attack that damaged FOB Salerno’s dining facility in June, Rogers is credited with rescuing several soldiers and a local national from the building and then setting up a triage station to evaluate and initiate treatment for additional injured personnel.
“It wasn’t until he was ordered to stop tending to the wounded that he finally relented and allowed other medics to take care of his own injuries,” said Perry.
Then, in July, Rogers was involved in an aerial rescue operation near FOB Salerno while being exposed to gunfire from enemy combatants, according to Capt. Joshua C. Aronson, the aeromedical evacuation officer for Task Force Wolfpack, who wrote the recommendation for Rogers to receive the Air Medal with “V” Device. Rogers was lowered by a hoist and a steel cable from inside a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and helped with the extraction of two soldiers from a narrow ledge on a mountainside.
For his actions under fire, Rogers was also presented the Combat Medical Badge, which is conferred upon military medical personnel that face combat conditions. The badge was first awarded to American combat medics during World War II.
Perry said he was humbled and privileged to present Rogers with the awards.
The feeling between the Governor and the Citizen-Soldier appeared to be mutual.
“It was definitely an honor,” Rogers said of receiving his awards from the state's chief executive, “this is something I will never forget.”
Rogers said he has to undergo further physical therapy and treatments for his combat injuries, but that he will soon head back to Galveston to continue life, go back to work and raise his children.
“Everything after combat is great,” Rogers said. “Everything else is easy."