Combat veteran takes to Purple Heart Trail to discuss energy production, national security

Published 8:31 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

Journey has taken family through 16 states

Underneath the warm afternoon sun on Wednesday, retired U.S. Army Capt. James McCormick and his wife, Heather, and two children Preston and Cassandra, paid their respects to the Mower County Veterans Memorial.

“Put that in his hand,” McCormick directed his daughter, who gently placed a small emblem decorated with the various military branches into the statue’s hand. “No one will mess with it. It’ll stay there.”

The McCormicks have spent the last month traveling across the United States along the Purple Heart Trail in 16 states. The trail started in the McCormicks’ hometown of New Haven, West Virginia and are planning to stop by the VFW National Convention in Kansas City, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart National Convention in Spokane, Washington.

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“It’s important we travel along the trail,” McCormick said. “I read off those names from the Vietnam War. Every town like Austin has those similar names. Most of them left to volunteer and gave their life fighting for the independence of others. We soldiers don’t ask why. We just do. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

The goal was to use the trail as a way to speak to the public about the United States’ national energy policy, and what it means to national security. McCormick also planned to use the trip to highlight the sacrifices of military service members made to defend the country.

“This has breathed life into my life,” he said. “This is an important purpose of how much energy plays into our national security, and our hands are for people like in Austin. … it’s extremely important to have a choice in what wars we engage in.”

McCormick is a combat veteran with numerous honors such as three bronze stars, three purple hearts and a silver star. He appeared in multiple venues across the United States about the importance of producing energy domestically, and the impact it has on national security.

He stated that beyond looking at the economic impact of having domestic energy production, it was keeping military service members close to home as opposed to being sent overseas protecting energy reserves in other parts of the world and what the cost of war can do.

“The American people, we control our own destinies,” McCormick said. “Let’s utilize an effective energy policy. It’s what we need and we’re gonna see a big change in America and in the world.”

While on tour, McCormick sought to inform and education organizations and individuals for Vets 4 Energy, in which he strongly advocated for energy independence, and that the only way to secure the United States and revive the country’s economy was to become energy independent on resources like natural gas and other energy sources domestically, and less dependent on imported energy from foreign sources.

He stated that the two things that the United State should “never get from our enemies” were food and fuel. McCormick stated that the main purpose of his trip across the country was to honor the sacrifices that fellow soldiers made by creating effective energy policies.

“We need to stop investing blood overseas when you don’t have to,” he said. “It comes down to that.”