A local Marine who was injured in Afghanistan, was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart recently
On Friday May 20, 2011, Corporal Zachary D. Byron, a Pashtu linguist from Marion, stationed at Camp Pendelton was presented the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for actions while serving with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment in November 2010.
Byron’s squad was caught in an enemy ambush in the vicinity of Durzay, Afghanistan located in southern Helmand province.
“You can never simulate that kind of environment ever again,” said Byron, “It was a wakeup call for all of us. When the guy in front of me got hit I couldn’t see him, but I heard him yelling. I immediately got up and moved toward him.”
Byron, 23, was shot in the wrist and thigh as he tried to render aid on the injured Marine in front of him.
After Corporal Byron came out of surgery, the Marines went to find his brother Lance Corporal Jacob Byron who was also serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. After finding Lance Corporal Jacob Byron and informing him that his brother had been shot, the Marines put him on a helicopter and took him to the hospital in Afghanistan to spend time with Corporal Zachary Byron while he recover.
The doctors at the hospital felt Corporal Byron would be in recovery for several months, but Corporal Zachary Byron wanted to get back out with his team and help with the mission the Marines were working on. He was back in the field with his team of Marines within one month.