By Capt. Lauren Orr
105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Kansas Army National Guard
HIAWATHA, Kan. – Members of the Kansas National Guard gathered at the Hiawatha armory to honor retired Spc. Daniel Horner during a Purple Heart presentation ceremony Nov. 8. Horner was injured while serving as a gunner in a combat logistics patrol June 30, 2007. His unit was travelling on a main supply route when an improvised explosive device detonated a few feet away from his vehicle.
During the ceremony, Horner was presented the Purple Heart by the adjutant general of the Kansas National Guard, Maj. Gen. David Weishaar, and was accompanied to the ceremony by his sister, Brenda Alexander. Other distinguished guests included Brig. Gen. Anthony Mohatt, commander of the Kansas Army National Guard, Brig. Gen. John Rueger, the chief of staff of the Kansas National Guard and Lt. Col. Mike McCoy, rear detachment commander of the 130th Field Artillery Battalion.
“It’s truly an honor to participate in this ceremony to recognize Specialist Daniel Horner,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Harmon, senior enlisted advisor of the Kansas Army National Guard and master of ceremonies. “The Purple Heart is an exceptional very special award. It’s one of the few awards that’s given on behalf of the President of the United States. It’s one of the few awards that no Solider wants to get, but it’s important that we always recognize individuals that have had the experiences that merit the receiving of this award.”
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, while serving with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members today.
“Specialist Daniel Horner was just doing his job,” said Harmon. “He was a part of a great team that had a tough mission; every day, they were in the fight. My small part today was just to say thank you.”
In Iraq, Horner’s unit received the mission of protecting both U.S. and coalition convoys as they performed convoy security operations over a 60-mile route extending from Turkey south to Mosul.
The 90-truck convoys were protected by 10-gun trucks, with convoy operations performed primarily at night. The unit was based at Mosul and Q-West in Iraq, where hidden explosive devices and small arms attacks tested the Soldiers every day while conducting operations. “Thank you for your courage,” said Weishaar, “and thank you for your service to this great nation and the state of Kansas.”