FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Sgt. Gerardo Rivera of the Mission Command Training Program received the Purple Heart Award for injuries he suffered in Iraq.
On April 1, 2007, Rivera operated a Husky Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection system as part of a route clearance mission just outside of Forward Operating Base Warrior in the Kirkuk region. While he provided cover for a crew inspecting an IED, an insurgent fired a rocket propelled grenade at Rivera’s Husky.
Rivera suffered a traumatic brain injury and retina damage to his left eye. At the time, it wasn’t clear if those injuries would qualify Soldiers for the Purple Heart, but a later policy clarification allowed Rivera and other Soldiers to receive the award
While at MCTP, fellow Soldiers helped him file the proper paper work to obtain the award.
Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center — Training, presented Rivera with the award Aug. 25.
“This is about us coming to show our appreciation to you for everything you have done,” she said. “You are revered by everyone in this Army.”
“It is definitely something you earned,” Gervais added.
Rivera thanked Gervais and all those at the ceremony. He recently left the Army and works as a human relations specialist at MCTP.