Originally Published: November 10, 2015 6:40 p.m.
Alvis L. Burns
City of Residence: Chino Valley
Branch of Service: Arizona National Guard, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard
Decorations: Two Purple Hearts
After receiving his GED when he was 18 years old, Alvis, in the center of this photo, enlisted in the Army Reserve, Arizona National Guard for one year and then enlisted into the regular Army for four years. He was trained as a nuclear-chemical warfare specialist, assigned to Germany for 18 months and then Fort Lewis, Washington, where he was honorably discharged.
He then joined the Coast Guard and was sent to Boston to train on a 180-foot bouy tender, and spent a year and a half on board as an OJT engine mechanic. He was reassigned to Yorktown, Virginia, as a ship engine mechanic, promoted to E-4, and sent to Texas. He worked on 41-foot and 44-foot patrol boats and was transferred to Atoll, 60 miles west of Hawaii, before going to Puerto Rico; Oxnard, California; and San Francisco, where he was discharged.
He returned to Prescott and worked for a gas propane company. Still feeling the need to serve his country, he joined the Prescott, Arizona, National Guard in 2004. Shortly after, his unit was activated. He shipped out to Baghdad, serving for 10 months on patrol in the sections of the city. He was slightly wounded in October of that year by an RPG attack, but continued serving as an MP.
On Oct. 6, an IED hit Alvis' Humvee, killing his driver and severely wounding Alvis. He was in a coma for a year and a half. He eventually regained use of his speech, arms and eyesight, and now depends on a motorized wheelchair to get around.