One of the last things Army Ranger Josh Hargis did in Afghanistan on Oct. 6 was take a step toward a seemingly unarmed man.
Hargis’ Ranger unit “was conducting a mission to try to capture an HVT(High Value Target), in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan,” according to the site Guardian of Valor.
Their post went off several field reports of the incident:
As several members of the Ranger unit moved toward the man to begin questioning him, a woman wearing a suicide vest emerged from the house and blew herself up, killing several members of the unit instantly, along with the dog, and injuring others.
Hargis was flown to the nearest combat medical facility where he was stabilised. Prior to his follow-on flight to Germany, the unit’s commander organised a hasty bedside ceremony to award Hargis the Purple Heart.
Later, Taylor Hargis, Josh’s wife, received a letter and an image from the commander, describing what Josh did in response to the ceremony:
During the presentation the Commander publishes the official orders verbally and leaned over Josh to thank him for his sacrifice.
Josh, whom everybody in the room (over 50 people) assumed to be unconscious, began to move his right arm under the blanket in a diligent effort to salute the Commander as is customary during these ceremonies. Despite his wounds, wrappings, tubes, and pain, Josh fought the doctor who was trying to restrain his right arm and rendered the most beautiful salute any person in that room had ever seen.
I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day. Grown men began to weep and we were speechless at a gesture that speak volumes about Josh’s courage and character.
The officer dubbed it the “Salute heard round the world,” and wrote to Taylor that he thought the picture should be posted “on every news channel and every news paper.”
“I have it hanging above my desk now,” he wrote, “and will remember it as the single greatest event I have witnessed in my 10 years in the Army.”
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