By Alyssa Menard, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Dec. 21, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Marine Corps Col. Robert Gardner was awarded the Purple Heart Dec. 20 for wounds received in action while deployed as part of the AC/S G-3 of the 1st Marine Division, and was visiting B Co., 1st LAR Bn, with the Division.

U.S. Naval War College (NWC) President Rear Adm. John N. Christensen presented the medal to Gardner in NWC’s historic Mahan Rotunda during a ceremony attended by family, fellow Marines, and NWC colleagues.

Gardner is currently the deputy director for NWC’s Maritime Advanced Warfighting School.

Gardner sustained injuries on Sept. 17, 2010, after the left front tire of his convoy vehicle hit a pressure plate that detonated a 40-pound improvised explosive device (IED) that launched the tire 200 meters away from the vehicle.

On a sweep of the area, the convoy found two other IEDs, and then continued on to their destination. Upon returning to B Company headquarters, they received medical assistance.

“The Gardner family and that vehicle are not meant for each other,” said Gardner, who explained that the type of vehicle in which he was injured was the same vehicle his brother, also a Purple Heart recipient, was wounded in during Desert Storm.

Fortunately, they both are still here today.

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States, who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded, killed or has died after being wounded.

When presented the award, Gardner said, “This is not one of those awards that anyone ever really aims for.”

Gardner expressed his appreciation that he was able to accept the award in person.

“You receive this award whether you make it or not, and many of my friends did not make it, and so I am glad to be here today to accept this award,” he said.

The Purple Heart is a distinct honor and life changing memory for those who have served in the armed forces.
Gardner ended his remarks by expressing his commitment and devotion to the United States.

“I have found the thing that separates being in uniform and working around the military, apart from every other profession that I know is a service that sets the military apart.

"That shared experience, that shared bond of service to our nation is what I think all of us cherish, and the fact that we have experiences and events that bring all of us together.”

Edited by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy
Posted by Dan Marciniak
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