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PFC Vincent Mannion Presented with Bronze and ARCOM Citations

Vincent's Company Commander Greg Sakimurga and 1st SGT Mike Shurko (B-2-505th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division) did the honors. MA chairman of Veterans and Federal Affairs Anthony Verga read out the Bronze Star Citation and KWVA National President Lou Dechert read out the Army Commendation Citation.

KWVA National Director Jeff Brodeur (Vincent's dad) and former Navy seal and family friend Dennis Mullen held Vincent steady during the proceedings. KWVA National Fundraising Committee Chairman Art Griffith and Army SGT Sherman held the 82nd airborne flag during this emotional ceremony at KWVA Chapter #299's fifth annual holiday party at the Elks Lodge in West Roxbury, where the award was presented.

Mannion attended last year’s holiday party as a recently enlisted private in the Army.  He left for Fort Bragg in North Carolina shortly after to train with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was deployed to Kuwait, then Iraq.

He was there for just under a month when, on March 11, his platoon was searching for insurgents in a building near Tikrit when a booby trap blew up the structure. His team leader was killed immediately; Mannion, standing nearby, was severely injured.

Brodeur said he and his wife, Maura, remember receiving the phone call.  “We were told to pack our bags and come to Germany,” where Mannion had been MedEvac’ed, Brodeur said. He was told that Mannion wasn’t likely to make it. Doctors considered amputating his arm, but Brodeur asked them not to do that.

Doctors were able to stabilize Mannion’s brain enough to transfer him to medical care in Bethesda, Md. There, “his brain literally exploded,” Brodeur said. “They had to remove both parts of his skull [to treat him]. He was in a coma for a month.”

After he awoke from the coma, Mannion was brought to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in downtown Boston. He cannot speak, still has shrapnel in his chest and suffers from traumatic brain injury, said Brodeur, who lamented that the VA in West Roxbury, while tops in spinal treatment, can’t offer the brain treatment that other hospitals can, he said.

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(Posted 12/6/07)