By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
(NNS) -- An explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) Sailor received a Purple Heart in recognition of injuries he sustained while in Afghanistan during a ceremony at Naval Base Point Loma Nov. 22.
Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, presented Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class John M. Kremer the Purple Heart.
"When we have a casualty like this, it is always in the line of duty," Hunt said. "It is leading. It is unquestionable self-sacrifice. I thank Petty Officer Kremer for that, and his nation thanks him for that."
Kremer was injured Sept. 17 when he stepped on a landmine while he and his team were clearing a hilltop for follow-on forces. Kremer sustained injuries that necessitated the amputation of both legs below the knee.
"It is an honor to have a three-star admiral come and give me an award," Kremer said. "This is not an award everyone wants to get. It just happened that I got it in Afghanistan."
Kremer, an Ohio native, said he cannot wait to get back to work with his unit, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1.
"It is an honor to come back to the unit and be around the guys," Kremer said. "I definitely want to get back and do the job again, hopefully in the next year or so."
The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration being awarded. Originally it was called the Badge of Military Merit and was designed by Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution. It was only awarded to Soldiers serving in the Army.
The deployment to Afghanistan where Kremer was injured was his fourth combat deployment as an EOD technician. During the deployment, Kremer was assigned to Regional Command North, where his team provided direct support to the Army. His previous three deployments were to Iraq.
Kremer has been in the Navy for more than seven years. After returning from Afghanistan and completing more than two months of rehabilitation, he reenlisted earlier this month for a four-year commitment.
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