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Full White House Honors

After earning a Purple Heart in Iraq, Sgt. Sarah Adams was invited to the White House, where she was honored by the president and first lady


by: WHITE HOUSE PHOTO - Sgt. Sarah Adams is greeted by the president at a White House dinner honoring wounded Iraq veteransSgt. Sarah Adams, a medic with the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team based south of Baghdad in 2007, had just walked out of a tent where she’d been assisting in surgery.

She never heard the rocket coming.. It landed only 10 feet away in a cluster of troops, killing two soldiers and wounding 11 others. Adams was one of the injured.

“I flew over a wall and woke up on the other side of the street about 30 seconds later,” Adams said. “I just started treating people from the tents. They were on fire. We got some of them out, but a friend ended up dying. He was one of my gunners.”

Despite her injuries, she rushed to aid other soldiers who were more seriously injured. Adams said while she was treating the other soldiers, she didn’t really notice that she too was wounded until two hours later. Flying concrete from the blast had dislocated her kneecap and torn ligaments in her leg.

“I finally got treatment, and then later after another mortar attack, I was sent home,” she said. She is still trying to heal from the injuries to her leg.

Adams stayed in the army and was serving at Fort Richardson in Alaska, where she was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, as well as the Purple Heart.

Then in February of 2012, Adams, then with the 581st Area Support Medical Company, 61st medical Battalion, was invited by President Barack Obama for dinner at the White House.

The engraved invitation stated that the president and first lady wanted to show a nation’s gratitude and honor the U.S. Troops of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Adams was one of 78 service members invited. At the time she was based in Central Texas.

She received word she’d be attending the dinner less than two weeks earlier, she said.

“The office of the sergeant major contacted my unit, and they told me later that day,” she said. “I was completed shocked.”



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