CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Georgia Liaison Team 10 was setting up aerial surveillance in Afghanistan when they came under attack. For one Marine providing security, the incoming enemy rocket would damage more than just the terrain.
Sergeant Michael V. Hall II, a field radio operator with 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in action while providing that security November 2013 at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 11.
Hall explained that receiving the award made him think about the Marines who wore it before him and the Marines who might follow after.
“I don’t wish anybody a Purple Heart,” said Hall. “It’s a prestigious award, but it’s not about the prestige so much as the remembrance of everyone who didn’t make it.”
Since his injury, Hall has found comfort in sharing his experience with others wounded in combat.
“It’s a pretty strong fraternity and brotherhood,” said Hall about service members who have received a Purple Heart. “I consider myself blessed to have made it, and I’m grateful for everybody I’ve had through the recovery process.”
Hall explained that the support of his friends, his family and his unit were indispensable when he returned from Afghanistan and began to heal mentally and physically.
“Even though people didn’t really understand everything that happened, I always knew they were there to talk and to listen,” said Hall, a Jacksonville, North Carolina, native.
Colonel William F. McCollough, the commanding officer of 1/1, presented the award and spoke about the unique nature of the Purple Heart.
“It cannot be earned simply by going into harm’s way, although those who have earned it have done just that. The Purple Heart cannot be earned through courage, although it is worn by courageous Americans. And it cannot be earned through achievement, although it has been awarded to many who have achieved greatly in this life,” said McCollough. “The Purple Heart can only be earned by sacrifice: Sacrifice on behalf of your fellow Marines, on behalf of your mission, on behalf of your country, its people and its ideals.”
As Hall finishes his enlistment and returns to civilian life, he remains in the thoughts and hearts of his fellow Marines.
“Your regiment is extremely proud of you, and we wish you all the best as you start this next chapter of your life,” said McCollough.