Queens Marine Awarded Purple Heart
A Queens native was awarded the Purple Heart Medal at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on April 27 for wounds sustained while performing combat operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Lance Corporal Archieval E. Ortega, an infantryman with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, was wounded while serving in Anah, Iraq on Oct. 10, 2006.
The Purple Heart Medal is a United States. military decoration awarded to those who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in or with the U.S. military.
While patrolling the streets of Anah, a small city near the Syrian-Iraqi border, a roadside improvised explosive device wounded Ortega and one other Marine.
"We were doing a dismounted patrol, preparing for a big operation that was going to take place a couple of days later, and we were finishing up the patrol and heading back to the forward operating base," Ortega said. "I was on the right side, only about five meters away from the IED."
Ortega was the closest person to the IED, which was hidden in some shrubs on the side of the road. He took shrapnel to the right side of his body.
"We immediately took cover and waited for another platoon to come out and medically evacuate us." Ortega said.
The 21-year-old had a fairly speedy recovery, spending only 10 days recuperating before returning to duty. He returned to continue patrols and finish out the rest of his deployment.
Ortega most likely will not deploy again since he is nearing the end of his term in the Marine Corps.
"I'm still thinking about re-enlisting, but I don't have enough time to go with them on this next deployment," Ortega said.