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Marine receives Purple Heart in front of building named after Marine who died serving with him

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Marines from Okinawa, Japan, stand at attention for a Purple Heart award ceremony in front of Secher Hall on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, October 28, 2016. The Purple Heart was presented to Lt. Col. Robert C. Sellers, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Assistant Chief of Staff G-4. The ceremony was held in front of Secher Hall to remind those in attendance to remember the fallen. Sellers is from Belvidere, Illinois.
Marines from Okinawa, Japan, stand at attention for a Purple Heart award ceremony in front of Secher Hall on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, October 28, 2016. The Purple Heart was presented to Lt. Col. Robert C. Sellers, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Assistant Chief of Staff G-4. The ceremony was held in front of Secher Hall to remind those in attendance to remember the fallen. Sellers is from Belvidere, Illinois.

OKINAWA, Japan — Secher Hall stands as a permanent memorial for Capt. Robert M. Secher, who was killed while serving in Hit, Iraq in 2006.

On Friday, October 28, 2016, Sellers received the Purple Heart in front of Secher Hall.

Lt. Col. Robert C. Sellers, Assistant Chief of Staff G-4, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, was a close friend of Secher.

“We held my ceremony here to remember and honor him,” said Sellers, a Belvidere, Illinois native. “He was an excellent leader,” said Sellers. “Whether you had a quick reaction force that needed to go out or a last-minute mission requirement, I always went to him because I knew I could depend on him.”

The two Marines spent the better part of nine months together in Iraq, before Secher’s death.

Sellers was hit by two improvised explosive device (IED) blasts in Afghanistan, 2012. The blast from the first IED blew Sellers through a wall. Despite sustaining head injuries, Sellers got up and began providing aid to an injured Sailor when another IED blast knocked him unconscious.

“During the first and second blasts, I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury,” said Sellers. Upon regaining consciousness, Sellers helped coordinate a casualty evacuation for two critically wounded Marines, ultimately saving their lives.

Brig. Gen. John Jansen, Commanding General, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, presented the award to Sellers in front of friends and family. Jansen said he was humbled when he heard Sellers tell the story of the events in Afghanistan, and felt proud to be the Marine to award Sellers his Purple Heart.

Sellers said he felt that receiving the award not only honored him, but also honored all of those service members who also suffered injuries or lost their lives on the battlefield.

“I wanted to remember the other Marines who lost their lives,” said Sellers during a speech in front of Secher Hall. “By holding the ceremony here, they are honored as well.”

By Cpl. Nathaniel Cray, III Marine Expeditionary Force

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