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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Springfield, VA, November 24, 2009

National Commander Jim Sims Welcomes Five West Point Cadets into The Military Order of the Purple Heart

On Saturday, November 14, National Commander Jim Sims was invited to attend a football game between the USMA and VMI at West Point.  Between quarters, Commander Sims and five Cadets, each of whom was a Purple Heart recipient, were called to the 30 yard line, where he presented each Cadet with a lifetime membership in the MOPH, a Purple Heart commemorative wristwatch, and his personal “Commander’s Challenge Coin.”  Amid the thunderous cheers of their fellow cadets, the following cadets were recognized:

Cadet Tyler Gordy, Class of 2010 and First Captain of the Corps of Cadets, is a Purple Heart recipient from Newcastle, California.  While on patrol in Mosul, Iraq on September 12, 2003 a thrown hand grenade exploded inside his vehicle, leaving Cadet Gordy with shrapnel wounds to his legs, arm, and face. Despite his injuries, Cadet Gordy returned fire, giving others time to provide medical care and remove his fellow wounded soldiers from further danger.

Cadet Matthew Gilbert, Class of 2011, a Purple Heart recipient from Belgrade, Maine was conducting maneuvers during an engagement in Mosul, Iraq on September 17, 2005. After clearing and securing the first of three houses containing hostile enemy, CDT Gilbert’s squad came under heavy enemy machine gun fire. In the ensuing battle, Cadet Gilbert was struck in the forehead by shrapnel from an RPK round.

Cadet Benjamin Ordiway, Class of 2012, a Purple Heart recipient from Champion, Michigan was clearing a canal road of mines in Turki, Iraq on November 15, 2006, to allow access to set up a hasty patrol base.  Cadet Ordiway was providing security for the entry point just as one of the gun trucks passed over an emplaced mine, wounding Cadet Ordiway with debris from the engine block.

Cadet Idi Mallari, Class of 2012, a Purple Heart recipient from Chicago, Illinois was conducting operations at a patrol base in As Sadah, Iraq on April 23, 2007, when two SVBIED’s penetrated their perimeter barriers and exploded, killing 9 and injuring more than 30 of his fellow paratroopers. CDT Mallari himself sustained shrapnel wounds and abrasions from the two blasts.

Cadet Sean Staggs, Class of 2013, a Purple Heart recipient from Alta Loma, California was on a combat patrol in Baghdad, Iraq on October 21, 2007, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. The explosion shattered Cadet Staggs’ left ankle.

According to Cadet Mallari a few days later, “Many cadets have come to me and thanked me for my service more than ever, and I think cadets understand the sacrifice Soldiers in the service make every day in combat. They appreciate what Soldiers do. The ceremony was a great opportunity to remind the Corps of Cadets that as cadets, we need to get ready to lead the men in the Army once we graduate USMA.”

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.

John E. Bircher III
Director of Public Relations
Military Order of the Purple Heart
5413-B Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22151
Tel: 352-753-5535
Cell:  352-250-9555
Fax:  352-753-5538
Email:  PublicRelations@purpleheart.org
On the Web:  http://www.purpleheart.org

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