Volume 30, Number 1

253rd Soldier Receives Purple Heart
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PAO

Spc. Lisa Easley (left), 150th AG Detachment, receives a safety briefing from Sgt. Joseph Thorpe (right) before heading to the firing line with her M-249.
Spc. Nicola Harvey, a truck driver with the 253rd Transportation Company received the Purple Heart for wounds received while serving in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated on Aug. 5, 2003.

That's the Army version. Here's her story.

Spc. Harvey is a 28-year old Atlantic City resident who joined the 253rd in August 2002. Her Iraq experiences were pretty much the same as every other soldier serving in the region; extreme heat, insects, dirt, and sandstorms; all diminished by the fact that everyone was in the same boat.

On Aug. 5 all that changed. The day started with a scheduled supply mission. The trip from Camp Anaconda to Mosul normally took six hours. "There are two drivers per truck during the mission," said Spc. Harvey. "Sgt. John Jones my co-driver was driving at the time. We were in Baugi - a hostile city - and there had been previous attacks in that area. We had to pass through a part of the city that looks like a flea market - very crowded. Normally, when we go through that area, we close-up the convoy and are on alert for sniper fire."

"We were just coming out of the area when a pickup truck cut in front of us. I don't know if he threw the bomb, set off the device, or just ran over it; but the truck blew up and we went right through the explosion. Glass from the exloded truck's windshield and windows showered inside the cab of our vehicle; with all the smoke it looked like a twister. Sgt. Jones yelled for me to get down but it was too late. We both got cut up."

When the medics got to us, I just said, 'I can't see.' I guess it was the shock of it al. The medic flushed my eyes and we continued on. When we got back to Camp Anaconda, an optometrist looked at my eyes. There were still pieces of glass in my eyes and my cornea was cut." Some of the debris couldn't be removed and will be with her for the rest of her life. Now, fast-forward to Jan. 28th. Spc. Harvey is preparing to go home for R&R.

"The unit had a formation. When I heard my name I was totally stunned. After the pinning, there were hugs and stuff like that from the (members of my) company and the next day I was home."