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May 14, 2004
Pvt. Christopher Tenayuca, Purple Heart

Continuing the series on telling the stories of the servicemen and servicewomen on the front lines in the Middle East, I found this account of a young man who was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in a firefight with insurgents. Despite being a newlywed now, he's anxious to return to his unit. Read on.

Pvt. Christopher TenayucaPfc. Christopher Tenayuca received a Purple Heart May 4 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, for a wound he received in Iraq Feb. 10.

"I'm proud of getting it because I've actually gone to war, but I'm not proud, because if I wasn't in the way of that round, I'd still be over there with my guys," he said.

Not long after arriving in Kirkuk in early February, Tenayuca's unit learned there were insurgents who often fired mortar rounds at Kirkuk Air Base. A task force was sent out on a cordon and search mission to find those responsible for the attacks.

After clearing most of the sector, word came that someone was seen running down a street with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Tenayuca, an assistant M240B gunner from Company A, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, and his gunner gave chase. As they did, another four-man team tried to flank the suspected insurgent.

Eventually, the man ran into a house where Tenayuca said there were about five other people. A firefight ensued, during which Tenayuca was shot in the left elbow. The bullet went in and out but it broke the bone.

Even though Tenayuca was just married while home on convalescent leave, and a little hesitant because of that, he said I feel like I belong with my guys over there."

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 14, 2004 7:46 AM

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