Compostela Valley —First Lieutenant Ari Ben Hernaez cheated death twice when he was wounded in two separate encounters within two months. His bravery, which earned him the monicker “Iron Man,” was duly recognized as he was awarded two Wounded Personnel Medals, an award given to soldiers hurt in combat.
Hernaez was first decorated after he was wounded in the left leg in an encounter with New People’s Army rebels in Barangay Panoraon, Maco, Compostela Valley on March 12.
After drawing recognition for his gallantry in action, Hernaez was back in combat in a month’s time. And on May 4, the young lieutenant was again shot, this time in his right leg, during a clash with communist rebels at Sitio Diat Palo, Barangay Kingkiing, Pantukan in the same province.
His valour was once again recognized as Hernaez, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 2009 and the Philippine Army Scout Rangers, got his second medal during an awarding ceremony held at the Panacan Station Hospital in Davao City on Monday.
Major General Ariel Bernardo, chief of the Army’s 10th division, presided over the awarding ceremony. He also conferred honors to PFC Jovert Torres, Renier Osotio, Albert Edem, Haris Winsly Villacentio at Wyli Tobia.