Sgt. Randall Kisner (kize-ner) is a 2005 graduate of Nevada High School who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times since enlisting in 2006.
Answering an e-mail, Kisner said his platoon was "conducting an area reconnaissance of a known Taliban stronghold" when his Humvee and two others were hit by IEDs July 23 in the mountainous Paktika Province on the Pakistan border of southeast Afghanistan.
"I cannot get into detail about the operation my platoon was doing, but what I can tell you is that we were preparing for a much larger operation the day I was injured," he wrote. "I was evacuated to Bagram Air Field and told I had received a traumatic brain injury.
"I was under observation for five days in a TBI clinic, where I underwent physical and occupational therapy and other exams for five days to ensure that I would be able to return to duty."
Assigned to infantry support in C Troop of the 4th Air Squadron helicopters group, Kisner has also taken part in the Iraqi Surge in Ramadi, Fallujah and Hawass and the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn in Baghdad. He is a member of the 4th Cavalry Regiment in the 1st Infantry Division.
"My day-to-day life is normally spent conducting patrols, both mounted (in vehicles) and dismounted, going to the gym, talking with family and friends back home or just trying to relax," said Kisner. "I am assistant team leader in a recon platoon."
Referring to his medals presentation Sept. 19 in Yusuf Khel by Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, he said, "A Purple Heart is one of the things that is never wanted, and at times I don't feel I deserve it because my scars are not seen by everyone.
"It was a great honor to be presented my award by Gen. Odierno."
The E-5 non-commissioned officer wrote late Tuesday night, Missouri time, after getting off duty in Afghanistan that his family's multi-generational military service has been a big factor in his life and career.
"I grew up in a military family," Kisner said. "My Mom is a retired military officer and was not too big on the idea of me joining the military when I did. But she and my father and stepmother have been my biggest supporters because they all know how I felt, that I had to serve my country the best way I knew how. I still feel that way today.
"I was always raised to be a man that can, meaning that when I want something I can't wait for it to come to me. I have to go out and get it. This is my chosen profession. I knew coming in that I would deploy. The deployments are not easy, but they are part of my profession."
Kisner detailed paying a high price from professional and personal standpoints. "This is not easy on a family, either," he wrote.
"After my injuries while I was still in recovery, my now ex-wife told me she could not handle the stress of 'the not knowing' anymore."
Kisner indicated that he takes great pride in his membership in an elite force. "As far as my peers go, I serve with some of the best-trained and most capable men in the world," he said.