William F. Ortega
Hospital Corpsman United States Navy
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 507-10
DOD Identifies Navy Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Seaman William Ortega, 23, of Miami, Flprida, died June 18, 2010, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device blast while conducting combat operations against enemy forces. Ortega was assigned as a hospital corpsman to Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
For further information related to this sailor,
contact First Marine Division at 760-725-8766.
After graduating from South Dade Senior High in 2005, he joined the U.S. Navy in May 2008 and moved to Camp Pendleton in California to train as a corpsman, which is similar to a medic.
"He wanted to deploy. He wanted to serve his country,'' said friend Ana Miller, "and he did.''
Ortega died June 18, two days before Father's Day, after a bomb exploded as he rode in a patrol vehicle ``while conducting combat operations against enemy forces,'' in Helmand Province, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
At the start of training in California, adjusting to West Coast life was hard for Ortega, Miller said. But Ortega adapted and made friends, including Miller, 21, and her husband, Jeremy, a fellow corpsman.
Still, the 23-year-old longed for home.
"He was telling me that when he came back from his deployment, if he was given the choice of where to go, he was going to choose Miami,'' said Miller.
Ortega's relatives declined to comment, saying it was too difficult.
Ortega was deployed to Afghanistan, attached to the Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
His battalion, nicknamed the Thundering Third, took full command of the province in May, when he was deployed overseas.
After the bombing, Ortega was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Non Article V Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
On Friday, his remains will be returned to South Florida in a private event for his family at Homestead Air Reserve Base. There will be a funeral Saturday in Kendall, after which his body will be taken to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be buried July 9, 2010.
He is survived by his parents, William and Marianela Ortega; sisters Karla Ortega, Edna Ortega, Maria Ortega, Aracely Ortega and Evelyn Lopez; brother-in-law Juan Martinez of the U.S. Navy; grandmother Gladys Francisca Gutierrez and grandfather Jose Centeno.
The local funeral will be at noon Saturday at Bernardo Garcia Funeral Home, 12050 SW 117th Ave.
The family asks that only family, friends and military and public officials attend.
ORTEGA, WILLIAM F
Posted: 10 August 2010 19 October 2010
Photo By Eileen Horan, August 2010
Photo By Eileen Horan, July 2010