By BUC Eric Chamberlin, NMCB 40
CMCN Nicholas Morton, assigned to NMCB 40 and serving in Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee, receives the Purple Heart medal from command leadership, April 6.
Construction Mechanic Constructionman Nicholas Morton, a Seabee assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 serving in Afghanistan as an Individual Augmentee (IA) received the Purple Heart medal Apr. 6, months after being wounded in an attack while on a routine foot patrol in a village outside the base at Regional Command-South. CMCN Morton and three other service men, including their medic, were injured.
Morton was one of the three construction mechanics who volunteered to support the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) mission in Afghanistan with fellow NATO country forces as part of the Navy’s IA program. After completing nearly six months of extensive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle mechanic schools in the United States, Morton was assigned to PRT Uruzgan and completed additional combat skills training with his new team in Camp Atterbury, Ill., with the U.S. Army.
Morton and his team deployed in Jan. 2012 to Regional Command-South, Afghanistan. Having only been deployed to Afghanistan for a few weeks, Morton and his team were returning to the base when a teenage boy detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) he was wearing as a vest.
“After the explosion it all happened so fast,” said Morton.”We began to set up a 360-degree perimeter to protect the three guys who were seriously wounded while the medic, who was one of them, went to work on the other two.
“It was then that another soldier told me that I was bleeding from my shoulder and I realized that I had been hit by shrapnel, also,” Morton added.
He was evacuated to a medical treatment facility in Kandahar where he was treated for fragmentation injuries for two weeks at the Warrior Recovery Center, and then returned to his PRT.
“I am feeling a lot better and glad to be back with my unit,” Morton said following the Purple Heart ceremony.