Memphis native injured in Iraq awarded Purple Heart

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South veteran was awarded the Purple Heart Thursday at Congressman Steve Cohen's office.

James McNeil was one of the first soldiers injured when war broke out with Iraq.

Family members took pictures when McNeil arrived at Cohen's office to pick up the Purple Heart.  His mother, Juanita McNeil, was given the honor of pinning the medal on her son.

"I feel proud of him," she said.  "I'm proud of all my children, every last one of them."

James McNeil was one of the first National Guard soldiers injured in Iraq.  His friend and fellow Tennessee National Guard veteran Daren Price was with him when he got injured.

"In the Baghdad airport, we started receiving small arms fire, and from there it was just haywire," said Price.

Some nine years later, James McNeil was honored for his bravery.

The Memphis native said he accepted the Purple Heart on behalf of all the soldiers that got injured.

"This is not only for me, this is for the soldiers of the 11-7th," said James McNeil.

James McNeil has also served in the Marines and the Air Force.  He said he had no regrets about serving his country and would do it again if asked.

"Wouldn't think nothing about it," he said.  "I'll go right now if they ask me."

James McNeil's sister, Velvet McNeil, served in the Air Force and his brother, Otis McNeil, is an Army veteran.

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