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Colusa man honored with Purple Heart
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Sgt. Kevin Peterson barely remembers the Sept. 10 explosion and ensuing chaos that left him and 88 other service members injured at a combat outpost in Afghanistan's Wardak Province.
But the Purple Heart presented by Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles during a March 13 ceremony is something the Colusa man will never forget.
"It's such an honor to get such a prestigious award, from such a prestigious leader as Gen. Miles," said Peterson, an Avenger crew member and platoon sergeant assigned to the 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
Peterson still considers Colusa his home. His mother and stepfather, Faye and Rick Lucero, live in North Highlands. His father, Jim Sturgeon, lives in Belfar, Wash.
Peterson received the award for injuries sustained when a device containing 9,000 kilograms of explosives detonated outside Combat Outpost Sayad Abad, where Peterson, then assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, was serving as part of a Security Force Assistance Team.
He said the explosion and the events that followed are a bit of a blur, though he wanted to extend his thanks to the first responders of the 2-4 Infantry for saving so many lives.
The Colusa native said the explosion led to the largest medical evacuation in the history of the war in Afghanistan.
The Purple Heart, originally established by Gen. George Washington in 1782, is one of the oldest decorations in the U.S. military, and is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action in combat.
"It's a humbling award, and I don't feel like I did anything to earn it," Peterson said. "I'm lucky to be alive instead of one of the (soldiers who have the medal) handed to their next of kin."