TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Lt. Col. Jeff Kenney, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 7th Marine Regiment, and Sgt. Maj. Michael Miller, battalion sergeant major, 3/4, presented the Purple Heart medal to two ‘Darkside’ Marines at the unit’s command operation center Nov. 22.
Lance Cpl. Devin H. Kyle, assaultman, and Cpl. Samuel B. Burkeland, team leader, were awarded the medal for injuries sustained in combat while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Kyle suffered a bullet wound to his leg from an unknown direction when leaving a building to fix a communications problem. A sergeant that was with Kyle applied a tourniquet to his leg after the bullet impacted.
“He was standing two feet from me when I got hit. After I fell to the ground I got the tourniquet out but that’s when my body just shut down,” Kyle said. “Sgt. Espino returned fire and applied the tourniquet until other Marines came to help. I’m grateful to receive such a prestigious medal.”
Burkeland suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving as the gunner for a vehicle that was impacted by an improvised explosive device during a convoy.
“The convoy was going to set up an over-watch position,” said 1st Lt. Walter R. Mack, platoon commander, 3/4. “Being that he was on the turret at the time, he received the most exposure from the blast and upon further assessment from a doctor, it was determined he suffered a brain injury.”
The Purple Heart Medal is one of the oldest military merits still presented to this day. It is awarded to members of the armed forces or any civilian national of the United States who is wounded or killed while serving under authority with one of the United States Armed Services.
“I feel very humbled to be part of a class of people that have received this medal while serving,” Burkeland said.