Ft. Benning - Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers are recognized for their bravery during intense combat. On Friday, thirty 3rd Infantry soldiers at Fort Benning were awarded Silver Stars, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts.
One wounded soldier didn't receive his award from the general, but from a person who is even more special to him.
Staff Sergeant Shawn Crane came back with battle wounds. His left hand was hit with shrapnel. He explains, "A lot of it blew straight through the tendon and nerve damage is in this finger, I'll never be able to use it again."
Crane's six-month-old son, Nicholas, sits in the audience playing with a yellow heart toy while his daddy gets a purple heart. Crane was injured exactly a month after Nicholas was born.
Vietnam Veteran, Dan Crane, awarded his son the Purple Heart. "It was exciting, nervous, a lot of flashbacks and a whole lot of emotions coming through."
It's not an award you want to present your son, and hopefully Crane won't have to do the same with Nicholas. He says, "To me it's going to be one of the most memorable moment of this award ceremony."
Two Silver Stars, 25 Bronze Stars and eight Purple Hearts were pinned on the soldiers.
The ceremony was in memory of First Sergeant Joe Garza who was killed in Baghdad. He was thrown from a Hum-Vee and struck by a civilian vehicle.
Staff Sergeant Crane had surgery on his hand in Iraq, Kuwait, Germany and Georgia.