Oklahoma Man Wanted To Keep Purple Heart Quiet

Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 10:33 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoman received the Purple Heart and didn't want people to know. He was even hesitant to invite his family and friends to the ceremony saying that he didn't do anything heroic. Mike Hamilton's comrades couldn't disagree more.

Hamilton is most comfortable blending in to his 1st Battalion 279 Infantry, but he definitely stands out.

Hamilton said he doesn't deserve this Purple Heart. He earned it as a Mortar Platoon Sergeant in Afghanistan when the ground beneath him exploded.

"It happened so fast, all I remember was seeing brown." Hamilton said.

An IED erupted, sending dust and his 48,000 pound military truck flying ten-feet in the air.

"I remember feeling the blast coming through the truck. You could feel from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. It's probably one of the worst pains I've ever felt in my entire life," Hamilton said.

Hamilton walked away from the blast thinking he was okay. His wife Trish knew otherwise.

"He's trying to be tough and brave and, 'I'm fine, I'm fine,' when I knew he wasn't fine," she said.

More than a year after the blast, Hamilton was diagnosed with a concussion. He now suffers severe migraines and will likely need surgery.

Sunday, he was to finally receive the Purple Heart. He said the recognition is nice, but he doesn't deserve it.

"So many other soldiers, they didn't survive, or you know, you got soldiers that really got really injured, that got shot or got shrapnel, you know, a lot worse than I did," he said. "That's where the mixed feelings are at, is when you get an award for just surviving. You know, I didn't do anything heroic."

The oldest of his five kids, Jamie, disagrees.

"My dad is my hero. Like, he actually fought for my life," Jamie said.

Sunday, the soldier who didn't even want to invite his family to the ceremony, had a turnout of more than 50 people ready to see him recognized.

Hamilton said his wife is the hero for being a single mom while he was deployed.

He said his Purple Heart came at the perfect time, as he's preparing to retire after an almost 30-year Army career. Hamilton said he plans to go back to school.