View Full Version : U.S. Louis E. Fonseca, Navy Cross ,Iraq

08-28-2009, 05:12 PM
Luis Fonseca

* Place of birth: Frankfurt,
* Home of record: Fayetteville, N.C.

For his actions in Iraq, Luis Fonseca became the first Navy Corpsman since the Vietnam War to be awarded the Navy Cross. His wife Maria also served as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Three Marines from Company C, and another from Weapons Company were awarded Silver Stars for their heroism in the same action.

Awards and Citations

Navy Cross

Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Hospitalman Apprentice Luis E. Fonseca, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Corpsman, Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, Company C, First Battalion, Second Marines, Regimental Combat Team TWO, Task Force Tarawa, First Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 23 March 2003. During Company C's assault and seizure of the Saddam Canal Bridge, an amphibious assault vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade inflicting five casualties. Without concern for his own safety, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca braved small arms, machine gun, and intense rocket propelled grenade fire to evacuate the wounded Marines from the burning amphibious assault vehicle and tend to their wounds. He established a casualty collection point inside the unit's medical evacuation amphibious assault vehicle, calmly and methodically stabilizing two casualties with lower limb amputations by applying tourniquets and administering morphine. He continued to treat and care for the wounded awaiting evacuation until his vehicle was rendered immobile by enemy direct and indirect fire. Under a wall of enemy machine gun fire, he directed the movement of four casualties from the damaged vehicle by organizing litter teams from available Marines. He personally carried one critically wounded Marine over open ground to another vehicle. Following a deadly artillery barrage, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca again exposed himself to enemy fire to treat Marines wounded along the perimeter. Returning to the casualty evacuation amphibious assault vehicle, he accompanied his casualties South through the city to a Battalion Aid Station. After briefing medical personnel on the status of his patients, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca returned North through the city to Company C's lines and to his fellow Marines that had been wounded in his absence. His timely and effective care undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous casualties. Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca's actions reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions to the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Service: Navy

Rank: Hospitalman Apprentice

08-28-2009, 05:12 PM
HA Luis Fonseca, from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s Task Force Tarawa, was awarded the Navy Cross for bravery during the battle of Al-Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23, 2003.

On that day, Fonseca was a hospitalman apprentice on his first combat deployment with the U.S. Marines. His unit, Company A, 1st Platoon, was attached to the 2nd MEB’s 1st Battalion, Company C, 1st Platoon, which was tasked with capturing and holding the northernmost of Al-Nasiriyah’s three main bridges.

As the unit’s corpsman, Fonseca was aboard an amphibious assault vehicle, or amtrack, reserved for evacuating battle casualties quickly to the rear.

“I was supposed to stay back,” away from the fighting, Fonseca said in a telephone interview from Al Asad, Iraq, where he was on his third deployment (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq) in three years.

The Marines took the northern bridge at about 11:30 a.m., and almost immediately started taking rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire, Fonseca said. Within moments, a call came over the radio reporting that an amtrack had received a direct hit with an RPG, wounding five Marines.

Grabbing his bag of medical supplies, Fonseca jumped from his track and raced to assess the condition of wounded Marines who had been pulled from the smoking vehicle and laid out on the ground by their comrades.

Without concern for his own safety, Fonseca calmly and methodically stabilized two casualties with lower limb amputations. He continued to treat and care for others who were wounded and awaiting evacuation until his vehicle was immobilized by enemy direct and indirect fire. Under enemy fire, he directed the movement of four wounded Marines and personally carried one critically wounded Marine over open ground to another location. All five Marines survived.

08-28-2009, 05:13 PM
Hospitalman Apprentice Louis E. Fonseca, U.S. Navy: On March 23, 2003 Fonseca was with U.S. Marines in an amphibious assault vehicle, part of a convoy sent to capture the Saddam Canal Bridge. Just after the vehicles crossed the bridge, they were ambushed, attacked on all sides. Fonseca left his vehicle to attend to five Marines wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade hit their vehicle, which was still burning. He attended to two Marines with badly injured legs, then enlisted others to help transport the wounded back to his own vehicle. As described in the book Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, "the 5 feet 5, 140-pound Fonseca had a 6-feet, 210-pound Marine draped over his back and was dodging enemy fire all the way." Fonseca exposed himself to enemy fire again when he heard reports of additional wounded Marines. According to his citation, "his timely and effective care undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous casualties." The Secretary of the Navy gave Fonseca the Navy Cross on August 11, 2004.