Tyler Native Awarded Purple Heart
SISTERSVILLE – A local man was recently awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Iraq.
Josh Nash of Middlebourne was serving with the U.S. Army Reserves with his unit, which was busy clearing a road of improvised explosive devices (IED) and roadside bombs in January 2008 outside Baqubah, Iraq. Nash said he was alone in the lead vehicle known as a Husky, which is used to detect metal objects in or along the roads, when something went wrong.
“While driving along the route, I had an ‘indication’ in the middle of the road,” he said. “I stop, look out my window and try to see anything that doesn’t look normal. After a couple minutes, I back up a few feet to get a better look. The next thing I remember is that my vehicle is pointing in a different direction and asphalt is raining down on top of it. Apparently, I had ran over a pressure strip connected to an estimated 90 pound IED leaving a blast hole that was roughly 6 feet wide and 3 feet.”
Nash said he sustained a serious concussion and was given three days off duty. Nash was born and raised in Tyler County and lives in Middlebourne with his wife Amanda. His parents are Roger and Lesli Nash.
“I spent those three days calling home and letting everyone know I was OK and also putting my vehicle back together with the help of my other soldiers,” he said.
The fourth day – Nash was back on duty full-time conducting route clearance missions and continued to do so until he left Iraq in May 2008. After going to the Veterans Affairs Hospital, Nash said he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Nash said that despite his injuries, he was not immediately awarded the Purple Heart.
“I was denied the Purple Heart while in Iraq and after 8 years of fighting to finally receive the award is amazing,” he said. “It was a a very emotional day spent with my friends and family. I would like to thank U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and her office for accomplishing more in a month that I had been able to do in 8 years.”
Nash offered some advice to his comrades at arms.
“My advice to other veterans, if you need help with filing a disability claim or trying to get an award you deserve then reach out and get help. It’s hard to fight the VA alone,” he said.