Ohio National Guard Soldier Receives The Purple Heart Award


UPDATED: Sunday June 8, 2014 7:48 PM

They risked their lives for our country and returned home with lasting scars of war.

Several members of the Ohio National Guard were honored Sunday for their service in Afghanistan in 2009 during "Operation Enduring Freedom," including Master Sergeant Kevin Colwell who recieved the Purple Heart.

Master Sgt. Colwell said he will never forget May 28, 2009.

“We ran into a Taliban ambush it was a pretty sophisticated, well-orchestrated ambush," he said.

Colwell and 3 members of his team were driving in a vehicle similar to a mine resistance ambush protected vehicle, or M-RAP, in the southern part of Afghanistan.

Their truck was hit by rocket propelled grenade.

“We didn't know it until after the fact but even though this was a fully armored vehicle when it detonated on the side of the vehicle, the war head passed through, penetrated through all the armor, on the other side and actually blew out the tire outside of the vehicle," Colwell explained.

He said the team engaged in a fire fight with the enemy and lived to tell about it.

“By the grace of God and our training the 4 people survived that day," he said.

The explosion caused him to suffer severe migraines, but the symptoms didn't show up until much later.

“It's hard to think of myself as a victim because my injuries aren't as visible," he said.

Five years after the attack, Master Sgt. Colwell was honored with a Purple Heart in recognition of the day he and his team fought to stay alive under heavy attack.

When asked what it means to receive the distinguish honor, Master Sgt. Colwell said commitment.

“What it means to me that it shows that I’ve taken a hit on behalf of the country. I’m honored to serve my country and I would go back again," Colwell said.

Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group is the most deployed unit of the Ohio National Guard.

Their mission is to train the military of a host country.

Other soldiers in the special forces group recieved the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Bronze Star Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.

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