Specialist honored with two Purple Heart Medals
Story by Rebekah Almquist, BAMC Public Affairs
Published July 8, 2013
U.S. Army photos by Robert Shields
From left, Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, Lt. Gen William B. Caldwell IV and Trey Kleberg honor Purple Heart recipient Spc. Matthew C. Spang during a July 1 ceremony at the Warrior and Family Support Center.
Trey Kleberg pins on Spc. Matthew C. Spang's Purple Heart medal with the bronze oak leaf cluster pin during a ceremony July 1.
Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV passes the Purple Heart medal to Trey Kleberg to pin it on recipient Spc. Matthew C. Spang.
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Spc. Matthew C. Spang was honored for his multiple combat wounds with two Purple Heart medals during a ceremony at the Warrior and Family Support Center July 1.
Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commanding general, U.S. Army North, and senior commander of Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, spoke at the event. He recognized the rarity of a dual Purple Heart ceremony and thanked Spang for his selfless service.
“They cannot find any time since 9/11 that we've done a ceremony like this. There is no recollection,” Caldwell said. “Spc. Spang's perseverance and commitment to the mission has been shown.”
Trey Kleberg, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, presented the award to Spang. He received two certificates along with the Purple Heart medal and bronze oak leaf cluster pin. The pin represents the recognition of Spang's second Purple Heart.
Spang was wounded on two separate instances in November and December of 2011 while serving in Afghanistan with the 95th Engineer Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade. It was during the second IED blast he sustained severe damage to his legs resulting in a double amputation.
Upon rehabilitation completion, Spang plans on returning to his wife and two young children in Colorado Springs.
“I want to be a good father – that's my number one goal.”
Caldwell recognized July 1, 2013, as being the 40th anniversary of America's all volunteer Army. He said Spang embodies what it means to serve.
“Our volunteer Army is representative of the type of young men and women who want to serve their nation, be a part of something bigger and better than who they are. Spc. Spang gets that,” he said.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration and the oldest military honor in the world in use.