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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 17, April 29, 2007, Article 16

SOLDIER REBUFFS PRESIDENT BUSH'S PRESENTATION OF PURPLE HEART

The News-Tribune of Tacoma, Washington published a story this week 
about a wounded soldier who rebuffed President George Bush when he 
came by to present his Medal of Honor, wishing instead to receive 
it from his commanding officer in Iraq.

"After Staff Sgt. Chess Johnson was wounded in Iraq, he was flown to 
Germany and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He spent about 
a month recovering from a gunshot wound to the head before being 
shipped home to Fort Lewis. His departure was probably a relief to 
Walter Reed nurses. He admits he was not a model patient.

"Despite devastating injuries – a bullet tore through the right side 
of his face, destroying his eye and his cheekbone – Johnson was a 
handful. He removed those little sticky monitors, and one time he took 
out a catheter because he insisted on standing up and going to the 
bathroom. He’d sneak himself up and into the shower."

"His wife, Amanda, says her 26-year-old husband has a stubborn streak.

"He dug in his heels about one other thing: his Purple Heart, the medal 
that dates back to George Washington, given to service members wounded 
in combat.

"A commander from Fort Lewis went to see him at Walter Reed and told 
him the president himself was going to pin it on.

"Johnson, a native of Dove Creek, Colo., said no – not out of disrespect, 
but because he didn’t want it until he could get back to Iraq and receive 
it with his men. At this point it had been only a few weeks since the 
Dec. 3 shooting in Mosul.

"He declined again when Secret Service agents came by his room the 
next day.

"“A couple days later, President Bush walks into my room,” Johnson 
said. “We had a great conversation. I talked to him for about 20 minutes.”

"The commander in chief presented the soldier with a commemorative coin. 
But no medal.

"“I respect the president 100 percent, but he hasn’t gone to war with me, 
wasn’t in the conflict with me, doesn’t know me as an individual,” Johnson 
said. “That is something that my company commander should give me.”

"Four months later, Johnson finally has his Purple Heart – and a Bronze 
Star for valor to go with it."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

[So, I wonder what "commemorative coin" it was that the President 
presented? -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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