Local Marine awarded Purple Heart

By Lesley Hughes
star staff
lhughes@starhq.com

  Lance Corporal Nathan Morrow was recently awarded the purple heart in recognition of wounds received while in combat in Iraq. The award is solely presented to members of the armed forces who are seriously wounded, or it is given posthumously to the next of kin if the soldier is killed in action or dies from these injuries.
  The son of Lee and Lisa Morrow, 362 Pinehill Rd., Elizabethton, Nathan Morrow suffered serious injuries on March 13 to his upper body when the Humvee and convoy he was leading struck an improvised explosive device.
  Nathan has since made significant recoveries and continues to serve in active duty at Camp Pendleton in California.
  Brigadier General James L. Williams recently visited Camp Pendleton and pinned the hard-earned medal to Morrow, who serves in the 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Lima Company, based in Gray, Tenn.
  Morrow suffered life-threatening injuries to the left side of his body while being exposed as the lead gunner of the Humvee. Weekly treatments are performed on his eye which are significantly reducing his need for a cornea transplant.
  According to Lisa, her son can now recognize colors, lights, shapes and outlines of objects. After the explosion, doctors predicted he would need a cornea transplant and would have limited hearing. However, he has exceeded expectations and is regaining hearing in his left ear.
  Lisa said, "He still gets up at the crack of dawn every morning and pretty much does everything that everyone else is doing," at Camp Pendleton, except on the days following each eye treatment when he must wear a patch or dark glasses and is limited to avoid jarring his eye.
  "I wish I could have seen it (presentation of the Purple Heart)," she added. The time will soon come when Nathan can return to Elizabethton and will receive recognition from his hometown. His parents will also receive decorative Purple Hearts and can choose when they would like them to be presented.
  According to Lisa, Lima Company, still stationed in Iraq, could possibly return to the United States before October 15. The company could possibly leave Iraq on Sept. 15 before going to Kuwait for two weeks and then back to Camp Pendleton until Oct. 15.
  However, "if they keep him until December, then they won't have to go back (to Iraq)," Lisa said. If Lima Company is deployed again to Iraq, Nathan could be well enough to return to active combat duty. But for now, he is working on "getting another bar" and becoming a Corporal. He is employed at the Camp Pendleton Base working at the weight training facility and taking karate lessons. Before his deployment he was studying Youth Ministry at East Tennessee State University. In California, he is active at an area church and helps with youth services while attending all three morning worship services on Sunday mornings.
  Williams, who pinned the medal, is serving as the Acting Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton. His personal military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Medal. In the civilian sector, he has worked for business, technology, and software companies where he has been the Assistant Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, the Chief Technology Officer, and/or in the business development/consulting side of the technology field.