I Corps Artillery Soldier Receives

 Purple Heart from Afghanistan Service

 

By 2nd Lt. Ryan Sutherland

 

Published June 2, 2008

 

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Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, center, poses with Brig. Gen. Michael Liechty, left, and Capt. Matthew Peterson, all of I Corps Artillery, Utah National Guard.

Photo by Capt. Shawn Fuellenbach

Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, center, poses with Brig. Gen. Michael Liechty, left, and Capt. Matthew Peterson, all of I Corps Artillery, Utah National Guard.

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah — The Purple Heart is awarded for sacrifice, but you often find many more Army values exhibited by the Soldiers who receive it. This was the case with Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, I Corps Artillery, who was awarded the Purple Heart in a May 17 ceremony for injuries sustained during his deployment with I Corps Artillery (Forward) to Afghanistan when his vehicle was struck by a VBIED, or Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device.

Hill, of Clearfield, was the lead driver in a convoy en route to a location in Afghanistan when the front/driver-side corner of the vehicle was struck. After being stunned briefly, Hill’s first instinct was to get everyone out of the kill zone.  As he drove blindly, a fire started inside the vehicle and engulfed the gunner’s pant leg and the humvee commander’s left arm.

Having fled the kill zone, Hill stopped the vehicle and assisted with the evacuation of the occupants. Although injured himself, he continued to secure the area as Lt. Col. Leo Filipowicz rendered additional aid to the gunner. 

Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, enjoys a proud moment with his wife, Carissa Hill, after the Purple Heart ceremony May 17.

Photo by Capt. Shawn Fuellenbach

Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, enjoys a proud moment with his wife,
Carissa Hill, after the Purple Heart ceremony May 17.

After medical personnel arrived, Hill and the gunner were evacuated to the nearest medical facility and were treated immediately.

At the ceremony presided over by Brig. Gen. Michael R. Liechty, commander of I Corps Artillery, Hill was moved by the realization that many of his predecessors have received this same unsought honor.

“The Purple Heart is not an award that most seek, but I am extremely proud to be added to a category of such honorable men and women that have come before me,” said Hill when asked what the medal meant to him. “It is and always will be a constant reminder to me of how blessed I am and how my reaction to a terrible situation allowed me to return home alive to my beautiful wife and kids.” 

“I have received such wonderful support from my entire family and could not have been awarded this award without having as many of them there as possible,” added Hill.  “I am also extremely grateful to my Heavenly Father for bringing me home alive and without serious injury and I have the greatest love and respect for those who have not been as fortunate.”

 

Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, center of back row, with his extended family after he was awarded the Purple Heat in a Camp Williams ceremony May 17.

Photo by Capt. Shawn Fuellenbach

Staff Sgt. Daron Hill, center of back row, with his extended family

after he was awarded the Purple Heat in a Camp Williams ceremony May 17.