HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Two Utah servicemen and a Massachusetts airman stationed at Hill Air Force base are among 78 service members invited to a White House dinner Wednesday evening hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Robbi Stanton and Utah Air National Guard Master Sgt. Kevin T. Bullivant were nominated for the recognition by their commanders and will be representing Utah; Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Piirainen, stationed at Hill, will be representing his home state of Massachussets.
"This dinner — an expression of the nation's gratitude for the achievements and enormous sacrifices of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq War and of the families who supported them — will include men and women in uniform from all ranks, services, states and backgrounds, representative of the many thousands of Americans who served in Iraq," says an announcement from the White House.
"I'm looking forward to just going and meeting all of the guys from different branches of the services, and those who made sacrifices during the time of war," Bullivant said Monday.
Bullivant specializes in explosive ordinance disposal and was deployed in Iraq in 2007-2008 and Afghanistan in 2011. He said he received the Bronze Star twice and is awaiting a Purple Heart after being hit in the arm with an artillery fragment this past May while in Afghanistan.
Stanton was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his service in Iraq and is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Piirainen served three, six-month tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. In September he was injured along with six others when they were called to clear an improvised explosive device from a field in Iraq where an Army team was patrolling. Piirainen was awarded a Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and the chiefs of the five services and National Guard and Reserve are also scheduled to attend the dinner.