Petty Officer 2nd Class Joe Hardebeck
Standing next to a mud wall on Feb. 21, 2010, a little over a week into the Battle of Marjah, the Navy corpsman was scanning for insurgents through his rifle scope as two squads of Marine infantrymen patrolled toward Taliban lines during what was then the largest joint operation of the War in Afghanistan. Moments later, a shot from a Taliban fighter passed dangerously close to his cheek and struck the wall next to him so hard that his eardrum was blown out. “They were very close,” Hardebeck told Task & Purpose last week, recalling that he instinctively turned his head away as debris pelted him.
But Hardebeck didn’t want to leave his Marines, and fortunately, his hearing mostly came back a few days later. It didn’t dawn on him that he had been wounded by enemy fire and given medical treatment on the battlefield, earning him the Purple Heart. “I never wanted to push anything,” he said. “I came back with all my digits.”
But after more than 11 years, the 33-year-old petty officer second class finally received the Purple Heart award during a ceremony on July 1 in Camp Pendleton, California. With the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan essentially “over,” he may be one of the last American service members to receive the award for wounds received during America’s longest war.
WEATHER: BEAUTIFUL, NOT TOO HUMID FOR JULY
PAX: SQUID(R), AMBIEN(R), BARTMAN(R), MINIVAN(R), NAENAE, EARHARDT, SLEEVELESS, MATER, ICE BEAR, CHUMBUCKET, FNG JAKE (VOLUNTEER)
QIC: JUNIOR VARSITY
“YOU ARE ABOUT TO TAKE THE ARMY PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST, A TEST THAT WILL MEASURE YOUR
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE AND CARDIORESPIRATORY FITNESS. THE RESULTS OF THIS TEST WILL GIVE YOU
AND YOUR COMMANDERS AN INDICATION OF YOUR STATE OF FITNESS AND WILL ACT AS A GUIDE IN
DETERMINING YOUR PHYSICAL TRAINING NEEDS. LISTEN CLOSELY TO THE TEST INSTRUCTIONS, AND DO
THE BEST YOU CAN ON EACH OF THE EVENTS.”
THE 11 PAX THAT JOINED YHC TODAY TOOK THE ARMY PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST. FOR MOST OF THEM IT WAS THEIR FIRST TYPE EVENT.
THE PAX PAIRED UP TO GRADE EACH OTHER AND WE KNOCKED IT OUT. EVERYONE PUSHED THEMSELVES AND EACH OTHER. BARTMAN OF COURSE SMOKED THE RUN AND DID GREAT ON EVERYTHING ELSE.
THERE WAS A LOT OF BANTER ABOUT THE MILEAGE. SOME DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN GARMIN’S AND THE CAR, ETC. YHC MAY HAVE TO GET A WHEEL TO WALK AND MEASURE IT!
FOLLOWING THE TEST WE COMPLETED 5 BURPEES EVERY 30 SECONDS. WHILE BARTMAN SUGGESTED THIS AND OF COURSE MINI-VAN AGREED, THIS WAS NOT THE BEST METHOD. THE PAX AGREED, OR SEEMED TO, THAT THE 10 PER MINUTE IS A BETTER OPTION.
AFTER THOSE WE DID ANOTHER ROUND OR THREE OF BURPEES TO GET US TO A TOTAL OF 80 PER PAX. THIS WAS AT THE SUGGESTION OF MINI-VAN AND WAS TO HIS CREDIT A GOOD IDEA!
BARTMAN REDEEMED HIMSELF AT COFFEETERIA AND CONVINCED US TO PARK IN THE SHADED LOT ON THE SIDE OF THE STARBUCKS. WHY HE WAITED 4 YEARS TO TELL US THIS IS UNKNOWN, SO MAYBE IT WAS REALLY NOT AS REDEEMING AS IT SEEMED.
GREAT TURNOUT THIS AM, BUT WE WERE MISSING A FEW CORE PAX. SCHNITZEL POSTED FOR COFFEE SINCE HE IS ON THE IR.
WELCOME TO MATER, ICE BEAR AND AN FNG – JAKE, NOW KNOWN AS VOLUNTEER!
HAVE A GREAT SATURDAY BOYS.