FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -

A Fairchild airman was awarded the Purple Heart at a ceremony Thursday afternoon for injuries he received during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Staff Sergeant Jason Howes was injured in an attack at Bagram Airfield on September 10, 2012.

Howes was attempting to board a Chinook helicopter when an enemy barrage was launched at the airbase and one of the shells exploded beneath the helicopter, destroying it.

"It's that concussion and then that shrapnel that has now injured the team of three going out to do their business," Colonel Charles McDaniel said during the ceremony.

SSGT Howes told the audience gathered for the ceremony that it has been a long road since the attack, adding the Purple Heart is not a medal that you go seeking.