Rangers were part of a “mission gone wrong”, said Rep. Westmoreland

Cpl. Joshua Hargis, a Ranger from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was severely wounded during a direct action raid against an insurgent compound, Oct. 6, 2013, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Just a few hours after extensive surgery, Col. Christopher S. Vanek, Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, awarded Hargis the Purple Heart. After receiving the award, Hargis began to move, surprising everyone in the room who thought he was still unconscious. The medical staff tried to restrain his right arm, fearing he would damage his intravenous tubes. Then everyone in the room realized what he was trying to do. He was trying to salute. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric J. Glassey).

Cpl. Joshua Hargis, a Ranger from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was severely wounded during a direct action raid against an insurgent compound, Oct. 6, 2013, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Just a few hours after extensive surgery, Col. Christopher S. Vanek, Commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, awarded Hargis the Purple Heart. After receiving the award, Hargis began to move, surprising everyone in the room who thought he was still unconscious. The medical staff tried to restrain his right arm, fearing he would damage his intravenous tubes. Then everyone in the room realized what he was trying to do. He was trying to salute. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric J. Glassey).

On November 20, 2013 Rep. Lynn Westmoreland asked for permission to address the United States House of Representatives for a few minutes regarding a tragic event in Afghanistan where 5 U.S. Army Rangers were killed.

“Mr. Speaker, I come before you today to honor five soldiers, those attached to and those of the 75th Ranger Battalion, Fort Benning, Georgia. Fort Benning is home to about 1,500 Rangers of the entire 75th Ranger Regiment. They are an elite group of solider who perform specialized operations for the Army. Currently, the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, as well as Rangers of the Regimental Headquarters and the Regimental Special Troop Battalion, are deployed. I have a deep commitment to Fort Benning, and once these Rangers pass through Fort Benning, Georgia, they become part of the State’s family.”

“On October 6, five of these brave Rangers were part of a mission gone wrong. Sergeant Patrick Hawkins, Private 1st Class Cody Patterson, 1st Lieutenant Jennifer Moreno, and Special Agent Joseph Peters were killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, and Corporal Joshua Hargis was seriously injured. These soldiers came to Fort Benning from across the Nation. They are sons and daughters and parents, spouses, loved by many. Their loss is felt across our Nation, and we thank them for paying the ultimate sacrifice”, he said.

“As we mourn the loss of these four soldiers, I also want to give thanks for the life of Corporal Joshua Hargis. Corporal Hargis was injured on the same mission on October 6 and is pictured here beside me. This photo has been nicknamed `”the salute seen around the world” because it shows the strong character of an American soldier. After hours of surgery, Corporal Hargis’ commander held a small ceremony in the hospital room to honor Corporal Hargis with the Purple Heart award. They thought he was unconscious. Doctors, nurses, and fellow Rangers crowded into the room to watch him receive his award. Despite his injuries, tubes, and intense pain, Corporal Hargis still saluted his commander when his Purple Heart was pinned on his hospital blanket. This act of determination despite pain embodies all that is a Ranger. This is the heart of a warrior. This is America. We need not apologize to anyone for our strength and our greatness”, he continued.

“I want to thank these five brave Rangers, Sergeant Patrick Hawkins, Private 1st Class Cody Patterson, 1st Lieutenant Jennifer Moreno, Special Agent Joseph Peters, and Corporal Joshua Hargis, for their service and their sacrifice. Joan and I send our prayers to their families and to their friends. God bless America, and God bless our troops”, said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).

See related video: Soldier’s Salute seen around the world brought men to tears http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeKUbgj1np8 and ABC interviews his wife http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NcGDQORnFc

See video: 75th Ranger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGMcUVLRaqI