13 March 2011

"He's a trooper, he's a hero, he's our guy."

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pins the Purple Heart medal and a Combat Action Badge on the chest of U.S. Army Spc. Quinn Jensen of Logan, Utah, March 7 at the Heathe N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield. Jensen is a member of 744th Engineer Company, 54th Eng. Battalion, a reserve unit from Ogden, Utah. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Todd Pouliot, Task Force Falcon)

Three Army reservists from Utah received Purple Hearts from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week at the Heathe N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield in the Parwan province. One of them was Army Spc. Quinn Jensen, whose father Paul Jensen recounts being notified that his son had been wounded.

Jensen said he learned about the incident when his phone rang Sunday afternoon.

"I got the call from hell," he said, explaining how he thought it was a telemarketer. "I was going to tell them to quit calling me on Sunday afternoon. I picked up the phone and said, ‘Hello?' The man goes, ‘This is the U.S. Army. Your son Quinn has been in an accident, and all we know right now is he's in serious condition."

Jensen said nightmarish thoughts followed but he heard from his son the next day and the soldier's spirits were high.

"He sounds better than we do," said Jensen. "He's a trooper, he's a hero, he's our guy."

Jensen said his son even lightened the mood, saying what bothered him most about the ordeal was that he chipped his tooth. The Cache Valley native has had a strong interest in the military and said he wanted to enlist about five years ago. However, family restraints kept him home but he later signed up for the Army Reserve.

"He wanted to go serve his country," his father added. "He said, ‘Somebody's got to do it, it might as well be me.'"

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