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Army’s vice chief of staff awards captain Bronze Star for valor, Purple Heart

By Spc. Nikki St. Amant/The Bayonet

FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, March 31, 2005) – Capt. Charles E. Greene received the Bronze Star with valor device and the Purple Heart from Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard Cody in a ceremony March 24 in Infantry Hall.

Greene’s awards stemmed from his deployment to Iraq from September 2003 to February 2004. Greene worked as an adviser to the 22nd Battalion of the Iraqi Intervention Force. While assigned to the unit, he was involved in several combat engagements and was shot in the head during a sniper ambush in Mosul.

Greene is currently serving as the director of professional military education in the Infantry Center and School’s directorate of training.

His leadership, courage and tactical proficiency were essential to the accomplishment of the unit’s mission to provide security and stability to the region before, during and after the January elections, according to his award narrative.

It is highly unusual for the vice chief of staff to award individual decorations. Cody traveled to Fort Benning for Greene’s award ceremony at the request of Gen. David Petraeus. Petraeus, the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq commander, hand-picked Greene for the assignment with the 22nd but couldn’t come back to the United States to award him his decorations.

Greene’s wife, Cynthia, said her husband is a humble man, and she wasn’t surprised when he chose not to make any remarks during the ceremony.

“He’s one of those people whose reputation speaks for itself. His uniform speaks for itself,” she said.

Cynthia said humility isn’t the only trait that makes Greene the man he is. He is known around the world for his courage, determination and personal pride.

As an enlisted Soldier with the 75th Ranger Regiment in 1990, he was in a training accident involving mortar rounds. He was sprayed with shrapnel up and down his body. He returned to work in a matter of weeks. He still carries the shrapnel.

In 2003, he fell from a deerstand in Texas and broke six vertabrae in his spine. Doctors predicted he would be unable to work for five to six months. Greene said, “Nobody is going to take my command.” He returned to duty 30 days later and was in Iraq 90 days after that.

Lying in bed on life support after surgery in Germany for his gunshot wound, he wrote a note to medical staff. “OK, you’ve patched me up. When can I go back?” it read.

“He’s always been this kind of guy,” Cynthia said. “I wouldn’t expect anything else.”

Greene continues to recover from his wounds. He has lost hearing in his left ear and has problems with his equilibrium, but his doctors are impressed with his recovery and say his eardrum has begun to rebuild itself.

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard Cody pins a Bronze Star for valor on Capt. Chuck Greene in a ceremony March 24 at Infantry Hall, Fort Benning, Ga. Greene also received a Purple Heart. He was shot in the head during a firefight in Mosul, Iraq, last year, but continued to lead his unit through the battle.

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