Islander earns Purple Heart

Paul Bang-Knudsen is back on light duty after

suffering wounds.

Islander and Marine Cpl. Paul Bang-Knudsen was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action in Iraq on April 16, his family said this week.

While engaged in night combat operations in the Al Anbar Province of western Iraq, Bang-Knudsen and two fellow Marines were injured.

The Marines are part of the Marine Corps First Force Reconnaissance Company, in which Bang-Knudsen serves in an eight-man reconnaissance team.

Bang-Knudsen was the driver of an up-armored Humvee when the vehicle came under small arms fire. After being wounded, he was medevaced by Army helicopter to a surgical field hospital for treatment, his family said.

He later was transferred to an Air Force field hospital near Baghdad for surgery to remove a bullet and shrapnel from his left thigh.

He was evacuated to Germany and the U.S. for recovery.

After 30 days’ convalescent leave at the home of his parents, Jill and Peter Bang-Knudsen of Bainbridge Island – during which time he suffered and was treated for an anuresym in his wound – the corporal returned to his unit at Camp Pendleton, Calif., his family said.

“We were very happy to have him home,” said Peter Bang-Knudsen. “He’s on light duty and doing physical therapy.

“He’s in very, very good hands. I talked to his commanding officer and they will have him on light duty until he’s fully recovered.”

The Purple Heart medal was awarded by the Commanding General of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command. The medal honoring those wounded in action was established by Gen. George Washington in 1782.

Bang-Knudsen graduated from Bainbridge High School – where he was a member of the state championship swimming relay and water polo teams – and Seattle Central Community College.

He served as an emergency medical technician with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, and volunteered for the Marines shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. He completed Marine Infantry School and the Basic Reconnaissance Course, Army Paratrooper Course, Combatant Diver Course and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.

After a two-year tour of duty in Asia with the Third Reconnaissance Battalion, he was reassigned to the First Force Reconnaissance Company and deployed to Iraq in February 2005.

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