U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 507-10
June 19, 2010
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.
On Friday, Seaman William F. Ortega will return home.
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.
A caisson carrying the coffin of Navy Seaman William F. Ortega, during a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery
Family and friends escort the caisson team carrying the casket of Seaman William Ortega during his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery July 9, 2010
- ORTEGA, WILLIAM F
- HN(FMF) US NAVY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 10/05/1986
- DATE OF DEATH: 06/18/2010
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9165
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
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