Unsung Heroes: The Corpsman who Saved 5 Marines at Nasiriyah

Fonesca

Navy corpsman Luis Fonseca ran through hell to treat five wounded Marines, carrying one to safety himself.

On March 23, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq, Luis Fonseca, a seaman apprentice, was a Navy corpsman on his first deployment, assigned to the Marine Corps’ 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion. Fonseca’s unit was tasked with capturing and holding the northernmost of three bridges: Saddam Canal Bridge.

Dubbed the battle of Nasiriyah, this was to become one of the first major fights of the Iraq War, and would ultimately claim the lives of 18 Marines that day, and 12 more before the most heated fighting ended almost a week later.

Shortly after seizing the bridge, all hell broke loose.

The Marines fell under a complex ambush, taking fire from small arms, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and artillery. Within moments the call came in: five Marines were down after a Marine assault amphibious vehicle, called an amtrak, took a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade. It was early in the Iraq war, the Marines weren’t fighting insurgents at this point — this was Saddam Hussein’s army.

Read the Remainder at Task and Purpose

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