Sailor awarded Purple Heart for war wounds
SANTA RITA, Guam – Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class (EWS/PJ) Rashid Graham was awarded the Purple Heart in a ceremony on Naval Base Guam June 16.
Graham was struck by a 60-pound improvised explosive device (IED) on Sept. 30, 2012, while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The denotation occurred five feet behind him, propelling him 10 feet and causing an ear rupture, concussion, contusions and multiple lacerations throughout his body.
“It is an honor to receive this award and be recognized,” said Graham. “However, there are many dedicated service members during that operation that contributed to that mission. The award is for everybody.”
After the blast and using his metal detector, Graham was able to navigate toward other injured service members and provide combat casualty care. Afterward, he assisted in clearing a safe, IED-free path to establish a helicopter landing zone. “We are all trained and everyone is looking out for one another; we have each other’s back,” he said. “I would not change anything. I was only serving my country.”
When asked if he thought himself a hero, Graham replied in the negative. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “The heroes are the service members who give [their] life.”
Commander, Joint Region Marianas Rear Adm. Tilghman Payne said this event is a moment of pride to be given the opportunity to present the award.
“It is really heartening to be able to recognize Graham amongst his comrades here and to recognize his great action,” said Payne.
“We are standing here together to recognize the tremendous work Petty Officer Graham did in Afghanistan.”