by Andrew Crisp
Wounded in Iraq in 2005, Sgt. Jerry Weir, now of the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, today received the Purple Heart six years after his injury.
After 18 years out of the National Guard, Weir enlisted in Idaho's 116th Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army. In 2005, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Weir's convoy was struck by a roadside improvised explosive device.
"I was a part of Alpha team on a 24-hour mission in Kirkuk, [Iraq]. It was a large mission, and we were in the lead element of it," said Weir. "There were four of us that took the hit."
Upon returning home, Weir sought the Purple Heart for his injuries, but due to an error, he "fell through the cracks," according to Sen. Jim Risch.
"Over the years, Jerry has been attempting to get the Purple Heart, but has fell through the cracks because of the federal paperwork," said Risch. "'Jerry', I said, 'You're dealing with the federal government, these things happen.'"
Weir contacted Risch's office, and today marked the culmination of efforts to bring the sergeant the armed services' oldest honor. In a crowded room filled with Weir's family, his wife Sue, members of the Idaho Division of Veteran Services, Brig. Gen. Richard Turner, and Maj. Gen.Gary Sayler, Weir received congratulations and praise for his service.
Turner called the Purple Heart the "least sought after and most respected award."
Before Weir tasted his cake, emblazoned with a Purple Heart graphic, a fellow veteran shook his hand, and told him that fewer than 1 percent of active-duty members receive a Purple Heart.
"Nobody ever wants to get hurt," said Weir. "But you want to do something for your country and be a part of history."