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The Marines from the Alpha Company have been through a lot. Of the 115 men on this tour of duty, 33 were awarded Purple Hearts—a military decoration awarded to those who suffer injuries in battle. Tragically, 25-year-old Sergeant Chad Allen was killed.

Sergeant Robert Holzinger suffered a shattered left forearm and jaw and massive holes through the left side of his body when a roadside bomb exploded. Corporal Harley Herron was looking for insurgents when a bomb exploded next to him. Corporal Chris Hines was also wounded in a similar explosion. These three Marines were so severely wounded in November 2006 that they had to return to the United States, where they have been recovering.

Sergeant Holzinger and Corporals Herron and Hines all surprise the Alpha Company by joining the special homecoming!

Sergeant Holzinger says recovering while knowing his comrades were still in Iraq was hard—and he's happy that they're all home now. "These are all your brothers. This is your family right here," he says. "It's tough leaving them."
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FROM: Real-Life Heroes
Published on April 04, 2007

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