Retired Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Fatigati, a former U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, was awarded the Purple Heart on August 12 in Idalou, Texas, nearly a decade after being injured in Afghanistan. Fatigati’s initial submission for the award was denied due to a lack of evidence that his injuries were due to enemy action. Later intelligence reports and years of perseverance led to the award’s approval. Fatigati, who suffered significant injuries, including to his spine, currently serves in the Lubbock, Texas, Police Department SWAT team.
- Injury and Initial Denial: Fatigati sustained injuries in Afghanistan when his vehicle was overturned during an insurgent attack. His initial request for the Purple Heart was denied, with the reason given that there was not sufficient evidence to prove the injuries were due to enemy action.
- Reversal and Awarding: Later intelligence revealed that Fatigati’s vehicle’s rollover was part of a larger complex enemy attack, and with the support of his friends and family, he finally received the Purple Heart after almost a decade.
- Significance of the Purple Heart: Fatigati expressed that the Purple Heart symbolized the nation he fought for and provided closure for his sacrifice. The medal represents more than just a recognition, and it was the only medal he ever found himself caring for.
- Life After the Injury: Despite enduring a great deal of pain and undergoing emergency spinal surgery, Fatigati’s life took on a new path, and he currently serves in the Lubbock Police Department SWAT team and the Texas Anti-Gang Center Task Force.
- Personal Resilience and Gratitude: The ceremony was attended by close friends, and Fatigati’s receipt of the Purple Heart is a testament to his resilience, the support of those around him, and his gratitude towards those who fought for his recognition.