Profiles in Valor: U.S. Army Spec. Marion Pettus

Army Specialist Marion Pettus III was part of a combat patrol in Baghdad when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated near his team. Pettus, a medic with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, responded to an Iraqi who had been hit. "We were rolling through a route called 'Screaming Lady' and we got hit with an IED. I saw a local [Iraqi] go down and called it out," Pettus said. "My section sergeant decided to turn the patrol around, so we went back and dismounted."

Jun. 6, 2010

Army Specialist Marion Pettus III was part of a combat patrol in Baghdad when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated near his team. Pettus, a medic with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, responded to an Iraqi who had been hit. “We were rolling through a route called ‘Screaming Lady’ and we got hit with an IED. I saw a local [Iraqi] go down and called it out,” Pettus said. “My section sergeant decided to turn the patrol around, so we went back and dismounted.”

A common terrorist tactic, however, is to detonate a second IED when responders arrive at the scene, as was the case in this instance. Four soldiers were injured by the second blast, including a sergeant and another medic. Pettus went to work tending to the wounded and getting them into evacuation trucks. On the way back, Pettus finally realized he had been hit as well. “As we got into the truck on the way to the cache, I felt my leg burning,” he said. “I realized that I’d gotten hit in the leg and didn’t even know it.”

That wasn’t the worst of it, though. “We got back to [Forward Operating Base] Liberty, and when I took my Kevlar off and put my hand on top of my helmet, I realized I had a hole in it.” Pettus suffered traumatic brain injury in the second blast but is determined and progressing in his recovery.

For his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor and a Purple Heart, though his father, Marion Pettus Jr., was unable to attend the ceremony due to a conflict: He too was serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

(This account was originally published in the Feb. 1, 2008 Digest.)

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