An ex-U.S. Army sergeant who served in Iraq under U.S. Congressman Allen West told Gossip Extra he was shocked and disappointed to find out that West tossed out the personal and medical papers he sent West for a Purple Heart application!
West, who’s running for a second term, promised the sergeant to support the request for the military honor.
“I guess I ain’t getting the Purple Heart,” said Ethan Hejke, a Texas artillery specialist who’s still dealing with injuries he sustained when his Bradley truck exploded on a road-side bomb in 2003.
“I sent Allen West the paperwork about two years ago for him to sign off on it so that I could get the award. He promised he’d do it but I haven’t heard from anybody since then.
“Next thing I know, I get a call about how someone else is in possession of my papers. It would have been nice to hear from Lt. Col. West on why I don’t deserve a medal.”
In another exclusive story about Tea Party fave West, who is running for the Palm Beach Gardens/Treasure Coast’s congressional seat against Democrat Patrick Murphy, Gossip Extra revealed last week how West, or someone in his house, simply threw out his former sergeant’s paperwork with household trash.
The documents included an original memo describing the day Hejke was injured. They also contained personal information, like Hejke’s social security number, notes on Hejke’s mental health plus military release forms often used to get a civilian job.
The soft-spoken ex-sergeant, 35, said by phone from Greenville, Texas, that it’s not up to him to say whether or not he deserves a Purple Heart, an award for GIs wounded in combat by the enemy.
Still, he says, he’d have preferred that West, whose campaign ads include a former subordinate talking about the congressman giving him his body-armor, handled things differently.
“Those documents are definitely not supposed to be disposed of in this manner,” Hejke said. “I’m medically retired, so obviously I could have used more discretion.”
The incident, meanwhile, doesn’t sway Hejke’s support for his old commander.
“If I lived in Florida, I’d definitely vote for Lt. Col. West,” Hejke said. “He is a hell of a commander, and I’d follow him back to hell.”
West, meanwhile, does not comment on stories that run in media he sees as “unfriendly.”
West retired from the military in 2004 after 22 years. His retirement came as he fought allegations of torture.