FORT RUCKER, Ala. (WDHN) — Staff Sgt. David Vazquez was a landing zone safety officer in Manda Bay, Kenya on January 5, 2020, when Al-Shabaab fighters attacked the Magagoni Airfield leaving several dead and Vazquez wounded.

From the onset of the attack, he actively evaded direct fire and detection for nearly 14 hours, helping with the counterattack against the Al-Shabaab forces.

On Wednesday, for the brave actions he displayed and for the wounds he received, Vazquez received a purple heart award at Fort Rucker. However, he says this award goes beyond just him.

“It’s not just my award. It’s the entire unit from 158, they deserve this award too, Vazquez said. “I’m carrying it, but we lost a friend and everyone has a scar from that day.”

Despite his difficult combat experiences, Vazquez decided to reenlist in the United States Army.

As an option for his reenlistment, Vazquez had a choice on where he wanted to serve, he chose to stay right here in Fort Rucker to not only serve his country but also help teach the next generation of soldiers.

“Take all the knowledge that I have and pass it to the new soldiers,” Vazquez said. “That’s my purpose. I believe if God gave me another chance, a second chance that morning is because he wants something from me.”

In addition to the purple heart award, he also received the combat action badge and army commendation medal with a C device for all he did on that day two year