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SCTY Gates awards Larkin OHern the Purple Heart Award at BAMC/San Antonio

Some may not know, but LT Larkin O'Hern was on foot patrol in Afghanistan just about three weeks (?) ago when he took a direct hit from an explosion which left him a triple amputee. He's recovering quickly in Brook Army Medical Center San Antonio, and per the story below just received a visit from SCTY of Defense Robert Gates, who awarded him the Purple Heart Medal. Larkin comes from a strong Aggie family, with roots in Belton and College Station TX. He graduated West Point and became a soldier, serving in Afghanistan up until the incident sent him home early.

See Larkin's Caringbridge site for updates on his condition and recovery.
Saturday, January 29, 2011 4:50 PM, CST

Today Larkin received his Purple Heart Award from the Secretary of Defense, Dr Robert Gates. For pictures, please check out the new additions to the photo album.

During the interview, Secretary Gates also gave Larkin his coin and business card. As he gave him the card, he said that he knows Larkin is getting excellent care now, but somewhere along the way, he could come across some bureaucracy, and he should pull out the card and say, "Don't make me use this." If that didn't work, Larkin should call the number and the problem would be resolved quickly. He also told us that he only gives his cards out in hospitals.

While the Purple Heart is the award no one wants, and Larkin refers to it as the "wrong place wrong time" award, this was truly a special and memorable day. Thank you Secretary Gates, for your care and compassion for your soldiers. Yours is truly a career of public service, and an inspiration to us all.

Larkin & Robert Gates

"Call me if you need me" -RG

Larkin's Parents and brother

Rachel's Parents

Larkin & Rachel

Dave Amiot, Sheldon Hodges, and Matt Barry. West Point classmates.
Larkin O'Hern
I don't agree with much of Gates' policy, but he's a great American. I'm glad that he is doing what he can to show his support and appreciation to our brothers-in-arms. I pray that all ends well for Larkin and his family.
God Bless him.
Lots of Aggie/Service Academy families out there.
Larkin is a great guy. I had the privilege of being a plebe in his company at West Point when he was a sophomore. Thoughts and prayers for a great American and his family.
I'm glad to see Larkin getting the recognition, support and thanks he so deserves!

Possibly there are other Ags who have made similar sacrifices as Larkin, but not receive the thanks or support they need? If you're aware of such Ags, please check with them and see how they're doing. If they're struggling with the 'system' and need help, or have financial hardships due to their injuries, please PM me.

Dan Wallrath, homebuilder out of the Houston area created a foundation, "Operation Finally Home" which builds custom homes for troops returning from war with disabilities. Dan was named a top 10 CNN Hero and recently teamed up with Extreme Makeover Home Edition to build a house for a Fort Hood shooting victim.

I'm in touch with Dan and his team, and can suggest Aggies to Dan in consideration of new homes who suffer disabilities from war injuries. If anyone is aware of an Aggie or from an Aggie family who might be a good candidate, let me know?

"made and kept so by the exertions of better men than themselves" -- J.S. Mill
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