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Guardsman earns Purple Heart

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Two Tennessee National Guard soldiers from Murfreesboro’s 269th Military Police Company have been awarded Purple Hearts for injuries sustained while serving in Iraq.

Spec. Caleb Dutton of Mt. Juliet and Spec. Robert Fletcher of Rogersville were both injured when a 55-gallon drum filled with explosives detonated near their patrol on March 25.

The soldiers were presented their awards in a July 21 ceremony by Lt. Col. Efrin Delacruz, commander of the 607th Military Police Battalion, to which the 269th is assigned. Delacruz thanked the two guardsmen for their “bravery, courage, and service,” pointing out that the Purple Heart is one of military’s oldest and most prestigious awards, established by Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Six Purple Hearts have been awarded to members of the 269th MP Company since they were deployed in November 2008. The four previous awards were given to soldiers attacked by gunmen while inspecting an Iraqi Police Station in Mosul in February.

The unit is scheduled to return to Tennessee in November 2009.

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