Weather Airman receives Purple Heart

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

The words “Attention to orders” often indicate a moment to reflect, understand and remember. Those words brought U.S. military members to attention June. 21, 2017, in the Courtyard of Heroes at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, as Senior Master Sgt. Jason Ronsse, operations superintendent with the 17th Operational Weather Squadron, was presented a Purple Heart.

 

The Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war at the hands of the enemy, or posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

 

Ronsse was honored with the Purple Heart for wounds he received Dec. 31, 2013, on assignment with the 19th Expeditionary Weather Squadron during his deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

 

“What began as a routine day would be anything but ordinary for Senior Master Sgt. Ronsse,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Coughlin, commander of the 17th Operational Weather Squadron.

 

“A 122mm rocket impacted within 35 meters of the office,” said Ronsse. “The intense blast blew the window inward, launched dirt and dust across the office and knocked me backward against the wall.”

 

A piece of a torn and distorted doorknob was a displayed on the podium as Ronsse spoke in front of family members and friends. According to Coughlin, it served as a reminder of the damage a high explosive can have.

 

“It is a privilege to recognize Senior Master Sgt. Ronsse for sacrificing his health in defense of a nation,” said Col. Steven N. Dickerson, commander of the 557th Weather Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, who presented the medal to Ronsse.  

 

“I have a deep appreciation for a country that recognizes those that protect them,” Ronsse said. “I have two words: thankfulness and faith.”