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Public Affairs : Majors awarded second Purple Heart

Class of 2016 cadet, former infantry Soldier, receives Purple Heart during Hall of Honor ceremony

Story and photos by Kathy Eastwood
Staff Writer

Class of 2016 Cadet Harrison Majors, Co. G-2, received the Purple Heart Oct. 25, during a ceremony at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor, N.Y.

Presenting the award was Majors’ sponsor, Lt. Col. Stephen Ruth, USMAPS Commandant of Cadets. Members of Majors’ lacrosse team and friends were there to support and honor him as he received the medal.

Majors graduated from the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in May, completed Cadet Basic Training in August and was selected as vice-president for the Class of 2016. But before his admission to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he was a noncommissioned officer, serving as a squad leader at Fort Carson, Colo., with 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Majors has now been decorated twice with the Purple Heart medal. O
n April 6, 2010, Majors was on a mounted patrol in the Zhari District of Kandahar, Afghanistan, as the turret gunner on the lead truck of the convoy. While driving through the village area of Kandalay, a large command wire improvised explosive device struck the vehicle launching it through the air. The vehicle managed to land on its wheels, but Majors was struck by the blast through the turret and knocked unconscious.

Within a minute, Majors regained consciousness and returned to duty before noticing he was bleeding. A medic wrapped his face and stopped the bleeding and he was coherent enough to remain with his unit. It was later when he was sent to an aid station for evaluation and treatment he discovered he sustained a broken nose, hearing damage, a concussion and traumatic brain injury.

The first incident happened Jan. 3, 2010, when Majors set out on a key leader engagement/presence patrol in the village of Badvan of Zhari district in Kandahar province of Afghanistan. Majors and his men set up support by fire and overwatch position on a hilltop overlooking the village.

When entering the village, an IED, located a few meters behind his teammate, was detonated along with simultaneous mortar rounds launched, which landed approximately 10 meters in front of his teammate and Majors. Majors’ light machine gun team was killed and an Air Force attachment was mortally wounded. Majors and his teammate sustained concussions, TBI and hearing damage from the blast.

Although Majors had re-enlisted for another six years, he also applied for admission to the academy. He said he initially enlisted because he wanted to serve his country and have a way to pay for a college education.  

“I was in the infantry as an enlisted Soldier and would like to return to that,” Majors said, considering branch options. “My second choice would be aviation.”

Majors said he initially enlisted because he wanted to serve his country and have a way to pay for a college education. He came to West Point based on a decision to continue his service as a commissioned officer. In the end, Majors found a way to do both, receive a sound college and military education and still do what he loves, being a Soldier.
Class of 2016 Cadet Harrison Majors received his second Purple Heart from his sponsor and commandant of the U.S Military Academy Preparatory School, Lt. Col. Stephen Ruth, at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Oct. 25. Before coming to USMAPS, Majors was a specialist attached to 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team. Majors was wounded in Afghanistan twice, once on Jan. 3, 2010, and again April 6, 2010.

Pictured is one of two coins created by the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and presented to Class of 2016 Cadet Harrison Majors when he was awarded the Purple Heart Oct. 25. Majors was an infantry Soldier and wounded twice in combat. He spent a year at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School before entering the U.S. Military Academy on July 2, 2012, for Reception Day.