Monday, August 12, 2013
Purple Hearts for Public Affairs
Capt. Jennifer Dyrcz (rear left), public affairs officer for 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and Staff Sgt. Jason Ragucci (second from right), public affairs broadcast specialist, receive treatment at a forward aid station March 28, 2013, following an improvised explosive device strike on their vehicle while conducting a mission in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province. Dyrcz and Ragucci were awarded Purple Heart medals, Aug. 6, 2013, during a ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo)
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – They were assigned to tell the story of a battalion-sized operation in the Maiwand District of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, but two 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armor Division, Public Affairs soldiers became the story March 28, 2013, when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle.
It was a temperate southern Afghanistan spring day. Although the mid-afternoon sun blazed down,
Capt. Jennifer Dyrcz, the brigade public affairs officer, and Staff Sgt. Jason Ragucci, a public affairs broadcaster, were comfortable with the heat as they sat side-by-side in the dark within the passenger compartment of the lead Stryker. They were riding with the brigade commander and providing coverage of the operation for release to military news outlets and the civilian media.
The convoy was returning from a mission to check on the progress of the Combined Task Force Ready First and Afghan National Army operation when the quiet of the afternoon was shattered.
“All of a sudden, there was a big canned boom,” Dyrcz said. “The Stryker was lifted, we lifted with it, and the inside of the vehicle was filled with dust.”...
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