Gossett, a Ruidoso native, was severely wounded in Zabul, Afghanistan, when his Stryker vehicle detonated an improvised explosive device, or IED, while his unit was attempting to render assistance to another vehicle under attack.
The flag presented to Gossett Friday was the one flown over Village Hall on Sept. 6, 2010, the day Gossett was wounded.
Gossett is a 2002 graduate of Ruidoso High School who joined the Army in September 2003. After serving for three years on active duty, he returned to Ruidoso, where he was employed at a local bank and served in the New Mexico National Guard.
“But I missed the Army, so I re-enlisted and went back onto active duty in 2009,” Gossett said.
It was while serving as an infantryman attached to the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment that Gossett was wounded.
“We were serving as the security element for a logistical supply convoy,” Gossett, who still uses a cane as the result of his injuries, said.
The lead vehicle, occupied by Afghani soldiers, detonated an IED.
As Gossett’s armored vehicle rolled to the side of the road to render assistance, it too detonated an IED. Five soldiers inside the vehicle, including Gossett, were med-evaced to the hospital.
Gossett was awarded the Purple Heart medal as the result of his wounds, and has been rehabilitating at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
He said he is scheduled to undergo a complete medical evaluation so he can return to full active duty.
Gossett said it is his intent to remain in the Army with his goal to becoming an Army chaplain.
Gossett was joined at Friday’s ceremony by his wife, Jennifer, daughters Caitlyn, 7, and Alexis, 5, and son, John, 2. His parents, Mike and Bobbie Gossett, and grandparents, Frances and Ron Wrenn, were also in attendance.
In honoring Gossett, Alborn said the soldier insisted he not be recognized alone.
“He wanted us to make clear that this ceremony was for all who are serving currently, all who have served in the past, and all who have made the supreme sacrifice,” Alborn said.