Posted: Apr 22, 2010 3:29 AM by John Romero
Updated: Apr 22, 2010 3:29 AM
The military's Bronze Star Medal with Valor is a rare honor. Wednesday afternoon it was awarded to Corporal Helen Ruhl with Fort Carson's 4th Brigade Combat Team. It's a bittersweet honor for Cpl. Ruhl. "It's a horrible way to earn a wonderful award." she says.
The award stems from a sudden attack the medic and her team sustained last September in Afghanistan. Her Humvee was hit by an insurgent attack. "We got hit with armor piercing rpg's, which are rocked propelled grenades. One went through my driver's door and detonated on his lap." she explains, "It was hot. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't see." The driver and everyone else in the vehicle including Cpl. Rule sustained injuries. The driver got the worst of it and that's when Ruhl sprung into action. "The training really made it muscle memory. You go through it so much and so often that when you do have to do it, you don't have to think about it." She says, "Your memory takes over and you just do what you're taught."
On top of tending to the injured and being injured herself with a blasted ear drum, head, eye and other shrapnel wounds, Cpl. Ruhl armed herself and fired back on the insurgent attack. In true character of our fighting men and women, she shows humility in the wake of heroics. "I did my job." she says, "I did what was expected of me by my platoon sergeant and by the way we were trained."