Together with other members of the 133rd Military Police Company, Bland was staffing a vehicle checkpoint when a suicide bomber’s blast threw him five feet and peppered his leg with ball bearings.
Bland was unable to move his legs, so he crawled to an intersection to provide security for his fellow soldiers. He refused medical treatment until everyone was safe.
“In the military you never leave a fallen comrade,” Bland said Friday after being awarded the Purple Heart during a ceremony at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. Bland is at Eisenhower’s Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion. He is expected to be fully recovered in about two months.
Bland had his wife, Ashleigh, and two children by his side at the ceremony and will return home eventually to Bonneau, S.C., but that’s not enough to put him at ease.
“I won’t be totally at peace until (my fellow soldiers) come home,” he said.