The incident took place in a province considered so secure that U.S. personnel do not typically wear body armor, and drive armored Sport Utility Vehicles (S.U.V.) rather than heavier Army trucks. The shooting also occurred just days or weeks before Eipperle and Pasker were slated to return home with the rest of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division.
See previous Red Bull Rising blog posts about the incident here and here.
Saturday's event included a proclamation from the acting mayor of Marshalltown, declaring "Master Sgt. Todd Eipperle Day," as well as a parade and ceremony attended by hundreds. Boy and Cub Scouts featured prominently throughout--in his civilian career, Eipperle is District Director for the Boy Scouts of America's Mid-Iowa Council. Before the Marshalltown crowd, Eipperle was presented a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during his Afghan tour. Previously, he had been presented the Purple Heart during a hospital stay in Germany. He continues to be on active-duty orders at Fort Riley, Kansas pending medical release, His family anticipates he will be home full-time by mid-October.
Media coverage of the Saturday event included:
- "Iowa Guardsman to receive Bronze Star for heroism today," Des Moines (Iowa) Register, Sept. 17, 2011
- "A hero returns: Eipperle awarded Bronze Star at hometown ceremony," Marshalltown (Iowa) Times-Republican, Sept. 18, 2011
- "Celebration for Hometown Hero," WOI-TV5, Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 17, 2011 (article and video)
- "Hero's Welcome: Marshalltown pays tribute to an Iowa soldier wounded in battle," WHO-TV13, Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 17, 2011 (article and video)
- "Marshalltown soldier welcomed home," KCCI-TV8, Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 17, 2011 (video)