The Purple Heart Foundation connects with Purple Heart recipients to share their unforgettable stories of valor. Here on the Purple Heart Foundation blog, you will read about the personal experiences of some of our heroes. These veterans have proudly served and sacrificed to protect our nation. Daniel Prigge is one of them…he is lucky to be alive, and proud to share his story to inspire others to keep carrying on.
“My name is Daniel Prigge, I served a little over 10 years in the US Army. I was wounded on May 03, 2011. My vehicle was struck by three EFP roadside bombs. My convoy was hit with a total of five EFP’s and one EFP that did not go off. My truck was also hit by an RPG and small arms fire during the ambush.
I was on a small fourteen-man team that was PSD (Protective Service Detail) for the general in charge of the pull out of Iraq. On May 2nd, the general took a helicopter flight to a meeting right outside of Baghdad, Iraq. The next day, my team was on the way to pick him up and bring him back to our FOB (Forward Operating Base). We were on the outskirts of Baghdad on a route that had a fence line on the left side and a canal on the right side. We were using RG33L trucks – a mine-resistant light armored vehicle built longer than the RG-33 to hold twice as many people – due to how many people we would have to escort from place to place. We were traveling down the route when suddenly I see an RPG hit the front of my truck…seconds later I felt an explosion to the left side of my vehicle.
I was the truck commander of the convoy, I was knocked out from the explosion and had sustained injuries of a shifted spine, both knees completely blown out and dislocated, left hemiparesis, broken nose, intestinal problems, brain leakage as well as shrapnel hitting my eye and destroying my optic nerve.
After the explosion, our convoy was still under fire. I looked at the vehicle behind me and saw that the truck was burning on fire with my guys inside. Our coms were not working due to the explosion, I came-to, dismounted the truck and directed four guys including myself to bound in teams of two back to the burning vehicle.
The burning vehicle was about three hundred meters behind us. The first and second truck in the convoy were not able to turn around and get us out of the kill zone due to the fence and the canal on the route. My team bounded three hundred meters and helped get the other guys on the team out of the burning vehicle. We were still under contact, but by this time we received help from the Iraqi Special Operations unit. We finally secured the kill zone about fifteen minutes into the fire fight.
I took off my helmet and that is when the back of my head swelled up. I wasn’t aware that the entire time, my helmet was acting as a make-shift compression bandage. So, once I took the helmet off, my head expanded, and I passed out on the ground next to an Iraqi Army truck. Due to the unexploded ordinance still hot in the kill zone it took the MEDEVAC helicopter three hours to land to take the wounded to the nearest FOB. I went through over fifty surgeries including back surgery, six knee surgeries to put cadavers and to put my tibia and fibula back together. My fibula is cut in half due to it completely dislocating.
I retired from the Army in 2015 and now own a Max Muscle Sports Nutrition store in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My awards include Iraqi Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Army commendation Medal (4th award), Purple Heart (2nd award), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, CLS, Combatives level 3 and Tiger Swan qualified.
Daniel Prigge, US Army, Retired, Purple Heart Recipient
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