By lex, on August 4th, 2009
Staff Sergeant Brandon Camacho has been awarded four Purple Hearts and is still in the fight:
Struck by shrapnel during heavy mortar bombardment in Iraq in 2003, Camacho has since been grazed by one bullet, hit in the shoulder with a tracer round and finally, in June, shot in the arm. His men call him “The Bullet Magnet” and joke that since all his injuries have been on his left side, if they just stand to his right, they’ll be fine.
The most Purple Hearts received by one person is eight, according to various sources, but receiving four remains a rare occurrence.
Especially when you could trade three in for a Senate run.
His first combat wound came in 2003, when his Army base near Fallujah came under mortar fire. Shrapnel was screaming into flesh and lit the tents on fire.
While Camacho was running to the bunker, a shard of burning metal struck just above his left knee, and a rocket hit the structure. He headed for another bunker but fell. Sgt. Ryan Haskins, who is deployed with him again now in Afghanistan, picked him up and pulled him to safety…
Camacho’s second and third Purple Hearts came during his next deployment in Afghanistan’s northeastern Nuristan province. He had just come off a tough year back home. His father suffered a stroke and his grandfather died.
In July 2006, a bullet grazed his fingers as he pulled himself over a rock while chasing the enemy. He was hit again in April 2007, this time with a tracer round, after their deployment got extended beyond March. Both times, he finished the fight before realizing he was wounded. And both times, he was back to work within weeks.
Finally, in June 2007, Camacho went home, two more Purple Hearts in hand.
When it came time to redeploy this year, Camacho was assigned a recruiting job, which would have kept him out of harm’s way.
But the soldier was having none of it. He was thrilled when a captain intervened to get him back to the front lines.
All I can say is, “Hooah”.