Five members of the Utah Army National Guard's 116th Engineer Co., serving in Iraq, received the Purple Heart Award during ceremonies in February.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Scott Evans of Saratoga Springs, who is with the 116th in Iraq, Purple Hearts were awarded during three different ceremonies to Staff Sgt. Gordon Shute, Orem; Staff Sgt. Justin Olson, Clearfield; Cpl. Wesley Gale, Richfield; Spc. Brian Jenkins, Ephraim; and Spc. Zachary Rinck, Taylorsville.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces for wounds, injuries or death suffered as a result of any action against an enemy of the United States. The five soldiers all received injuries as a result of improvised explosive device attacks on various convoys in August 2007, Evans said.
The 168 members of the 116th Engineer Co. deployed in May 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. They daily perform convoy security operations all across northern Iraq, delivering critical logistics support over an area the size of Pennsylvania. As of Feb. 1, the 116th has logged a total of 267,903 miles during its deployment. That is equal to driving from Los Angeles to Miami 98 times, Evans said.