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Photo by Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

From supply clerk to interpreter to Purple Heart recipient

6 Dec 2005 | Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

While serving as an interpreter with 2nd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Lance Cpl. Amber R. Price of Greenville, N.C., a supply clerk with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd MLG, traveled in several convoys during her time in Iraq, but, unbeknownst to her, the one on Aug. 13 would be her last.

Price was riding in the lead Humvee in a convoy taking supplies from Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, to Camp Fallujah, Iraq, when an overwhelming explosion rang out on the right side of the road.

Price was sitting in the back seat on the right, when the vehicle was forced to the other side of the roadway, causing her to be thrown to the left side of the cabin.

The force from the explosion sent Price soaring across the cabin where she slammed her face into the air conditioning unit.

“My face immediately went numb, and all I could see after I opened my eyes was blood,” said Price. “Blood was streaming down my face and onto my flak jacket, and I couldn’t see. I tried to catch some of it with my hands, there was too much going on to care.”

The Humvee remained on all four wheels, but the blast slid it across the street as the engine compartment burst into flames.

Air support, which had been flying above to watch out for improvised explosive devices and hostile forces, quickly landed and pulled the Marines from the burning Humvee. Price was airlifted, along with three injured Marines, from the blast site to the hospital on Ballad Air Base.

After being treated at the hospital, Price learned that the concussion from the explosion and the strike to her face caused a blood vessel in her eye to rupture.

Since Price was nearing the end of her deployment, she remained in country for the duration, but was ordered to take it easy for the remainder.

After returning home to Camp Lejeune on Sept. 13, Price received her Purple Heart Medal from Col. John M. Burt, commanding officer, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd MLG, during an awards ceremony Nov. 22.

The blood vessel is Price’s eye has healed over the past few months, but the trauma has left behind some serious problems. She will most likely need to endure surgery for a complete repair.

“I don’t even really think about it now,” said Price. “I’ve learned to live with the fact that it happened and that I’m lucky to be alive today. I really am.”

Although Price has lived through a tragedy and an experience most other participants do not, she tries to stay positive in her work and her current engagement to be married in June 2006.