American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 23

Shock Medicine By Luis Fonseca Jr., Hospitalman Second Class, U.S. Navy Luis Fonseca Jr. received the Navy Cross - second only to the Medal of Honor - for heroism serving with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade during the Battle of An Nasiriyah in Iraq on March 23, 2003. He was the first Navy corpsman to receive the Navy Cross in 32 years. out that they didn’t have a medical section. They use the Navy’s. I didn’t want to join the army because my dad had already done it, and I wanted to create my own path. When I decided to join the Navy, I thought to myself, what is the hardest thing someone can do in life that everyone always talks about? Of course I thought of the medical services. Since I had dropped out of high school I wanted to prove to people I could still do what I really wanted to do in life. Just like any enlisted guy, I went to basic training. Then I went into what’s called the Navy A School, where I learned my primary job. I am a general-duty corpsman, so I learned the basics of what a corpsman does every day dealing with medical records, dealing with drugs, everything from Tylenol to morphine. I learned the basics of IV punctures, how to start an IV line, draw blood and give immunizations. Marine Company A, First Platoon, to which Fonseca was assigned, was charged with the capture of the northernmost bridge in An Nasiriyah. After embarking on their mission, they began to take heavy RPG, mortar, machine-gun, and small arms fire. A direct mortar hit knocked out a vehicle, leaving several Marines wounded. He evacuated them from the burning vehicle and administered aid, then loaded them into his amtrac. When the amtrac was hit, he evacuated them again, carrying one of the Marines across open ground despite being under intense enemy fire. The valor he displayed was reminiscent of the corpsmen who served on Iwo Jima and in Hue City. After that training, I got what’s called a “dream sheet,” where I listed my top three priorities that I wanted to do. I always knew HM2 Fonsenca will join the American Veterans Center’s 11th I wanted to be a field medical corpsman. I always knew I want