Darren Byrd: ‘You could hear the rounds buzzing by your ears’
Editor’s note: Each Aug. 7 is National Purple Heart Day, when America salutes its veterans who have been wounded in action.
This week, the News & Press presented special advertising pages to honor Darlington County veterans who have received Purple Hearts.
One of them is Darren Byrd, whose story is below. See the rest of the newspaper/website for more Purple Heart stories.
Darren Byrd of Darlington said he joined the Army in 2004, when he was 23 years old, because “I didn’t want to be 43, 44, look back, and wish I had done it.”
He did 15 months in Afghanistan, and on May 3, 2005, near the town of Arghandab, he took part in the battle for which he received a Purple Heart.
A scout team was coming under fire, said Byrd, now 39 and a security guard at the H.B. Robinson nuclear plant in Hartsville. His platoon and another platoon charged out to help and found themselves in a major firefight.
“There were enemy combatants all in the valley, the mountains, they were everywhere,” said Byrd. A team leader, a huge man, had stepped on a mine, and Byrd helped carry him a mile to get help.
“You could hear the rounds buzzing by your ears,” Byrd said. He got shot in the hand, “wrapped it up” and kept going. “It was about a 15-hour fight,” Byrd said. He estimates 105 enemy combatants were killed before it was over.
The hand wound for which he received a Purple Heart “wasn’t that bad,” he said. “Not compared to some of the other guys.”
— Bobby Bryant