Injured Peninsula soldier awarded Purple Heart by deputy defense secretary
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Pfc. Jeremiah Wright of Port Angeles formally receives the Purple Heart award and a combat action badge from Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, for injuries received in Afghanistan.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Army Pfc. Jeremiah Wright of Port Angeles was formally awarded the Purple Heart and a combat action badge straight from the hands of Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter.

Then earlier this week, Wright was handed a car from a greatful North Olympic Peninsula veteran who drove the vehicle from Port Angeles to San Antonio.

Wright's first repeat visitor was Carter, who awarded the Purple Heart last Friday.

“He also visited me in the hospital. He's here a lot,” Wright said Tuesday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where the ceremony was held.

Carter also gave Wright challenge coins on both visits — part of a military tradition of awarding customized collectible coins based on unit assignments, locations visited or served, achievements and important individuals met.

“It was pretty cool,” Wright said.

The Purple Heart was awarded for injuries Wright, 22, received in Afghanistan, with the combat action badge for performance while engaged by the enemy and in imminent danger.

Wright, who graduated from Port Angeles High School in 2009, is a member of the 35th Engineer Brigade based in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

He was stationed at the Army's Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, before his deployment.

He was the roof gunner on an RG-31 Nyala armored truck in Afghanistan on Aug. 26 when an improvised explosive device, or IED, detonated under the vehicle.

His injuries included fractures in both arms and one leg.

He is expected to remain an out-patient at the medical center for treatment of his injuries for at least a year.

“I'm doing pretty good. It's definitely painful, but I'm getting better,” he said.

Wright is the son of Morris Wright and Lisa Bokamper, both of Port Angeles. His fiancee, Ashley Ferguson, also lives in Port Angeles.

Ferguson is staying in San Antonio to provide support and assistance for Wright.

Wright said a Clallam County veteran — who wishes to remain anonymous — and spouse spent four days driving a car belonging to the couple from Port Angeles to San Antonio and arrived Monday.

The car was needed for Wright, who has limited mobility, to be able to travel off base.

Cards and well-wishes can be sent to Wright in care of Brooke Army Medical Center, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, San Antonio, TX 78234.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 06. 2013 2:43AM
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