Photo Information

CAMP FALLUJAH, IRAQ - Congratulating the Marines from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-8 Commander, Col. Mark Gurganus shakes each of their hands and says a few words of encouragement after the award ceremony May 8. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Photo by Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Purple Hearts: 1st Marines with 3/8 wounded receive awards;

8 May 2005 | Lance Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Four Marines with 4th Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment were presented Purple Hearts during an afternoon ceremony, May 8.Captain William G. Rayne, 33, of Boston, Mass., Sgt. Jorge H. Herrera, 24 of Jacksonville, N.C., Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Landis, 24 of Pasadena, Md., and Lance Cpl. Curt L. Smith, 24 of Mount Joy, Pa. received the medals for wounds received during a rocket propelled grenade attack on their observation post near the city of Al Karmah, Jan. 30. “These Marines were the first to be attacked and take on casualties from our unit,” explained 1st Sgt Edgardo M. Guzman, the company first sergeant for Company I. “They were all fortunate because they were wounded but eventually returned to full duty.” January 30 was election-day in Iraq and the Marines had successfully assisted in providing security for the elections without taking any casualties. Unfortunately, that changed later in the night for Marines at observation post 2. Some were sleeping, some were patrolling, while others were awake on watch when an RPG detonated inside the compound. Shrapnel hit a few Marines while others were affected by the fumes. The attack was launched from an old ruined mosque down the road from the OP. The Marines began getting control of the situation by ensuring everyone was accounted for. Searching through every room, many of the Marines risked their lives running back into the ammonia filled rooms to pull out the wounded and disoriented. “For three days I couldn’t see anything at all, I thought I was going to stay blind,” Smith said. Of the six Marines who were wounded in the attack, four have been returned to full duty. “Breathing was difficult for the first few days, but after a while it got better and I was back to full duty,” explained Landis. The Purple Heart recipients and their fellow Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines were far from detoured from their mission by the attack in which they were wounded. They continue to push forward in their efforts to eliminate insurgent activity and provide a safe and stable environment for the Iraqi people to prosper. At the end of the ceremony the Marines were told by their fellow comrades not to get any more of these awards. “We will always do our job no matter what happens,” explained Landis.