by Stephen Delgado
Thunderbolt staff writer
2/8/2013 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- For
Tech. Sgt. Michael Pasley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive
Ordnance Disposal team leader, Jan. 31 was a special and memorable day.
During a promotion ceremony, he was presented the Purple Heart by Col.
Robert Webb, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, for action in Afghanistan
Jan. 16, 2012.
Pasley's Purple Heart was given Nov. 26 under the hand of Lt. Gen. David Goldfein, U. S. Air Forces Central commander.
Pasley was conducting combat operations with the 466th EOD Operating Location - Alpha in Afghanistan.
"My team was called from Forward Operating Base Andar to conduct a
post-blast analysis of an Army vehicle that struck an improvised
explosive device earlier in the day," he said. "Our EOD team arrived on
scene at approximately 2 p.m. and met with the on-scene commander who
had established 360 degree security around the damaged vehicle."
As Pasley's team got closer to the blast site, the danger increased radically.
"Our team maneuvered our vehicle closer to the post-blast analysis site
following in the tracks of three previous vehicles," he said. "The team
traveled approximately 40 meters when our vehicle activated a pressure
plate IED, which detonated underneath the driver's side of the vehicle. I
was driving the vehicle at the time of the explosion."
Fortunately, Pasley remained conscious for the duration of the incident,
but he said he did experience dizziness, headaches and body aches
immediately after the explosion.
He recalled that when the team returned to FOB Andar, they were examined
by Army medics and were put on a 24-hour mandatory rest, but it became
apparent that more medical testing was necessary.
"After the required 24-hour rest, we returned to the medical facility in
order to determine our fitness to return to duty," Pasley said. "I
displayed effects that were cause for concern and was put on an
additional 24-hour rest period. After the second rest period, our team
was cleared for full duty and would be redeploying soon. But while at
Bagram Air Base for redeployment, due to continuing indications of
injuries, our team was encouraged by EOD supervisors to see the medical
The examination at Bagram showed Pasley's injuries to be more serious
than originally thought. He said he was diagnosed and treated by an Army
neurologist and an Air Force doctor for a traumatic brain injury, a
concussion and was told that a previous disc problem in his lower back
had worsened. He was given medication for these conditions.
Pasley said he still suffers from traumatic brain injury symptoms, which
include headaches and short-term memory loss. He is also plagued by
herniated discs in his lower back.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are
wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy or
posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those individuals who are
killed in action or die of wounds received in action. The original
Purple Heart was called the Badge of Military Merit and was established
by George Washington in 1782. The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of
the president of the United States.