MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- Codenamed Operation Phantom Fury, the initial push into Fallujah was an attempt to regain control from the insurgents in preparation for national elections scheduled for January 2005. U.S. officials estimated that anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 insurgents were entrenched in the city at the time the assault began.
Murphysboro, Ill. native, 1st Lt. Wilson M. Moore and his amphibious assault vehicle crew were responsible for supporting the infantry’s advance on the city by providing covering fire and clearing barriers. During one of the many assaults on an enemy stronghold, Moore suddenly felt a sharp pain in his right forearm. An insurgent in one of the neighboring buildings had caught sight of him. Six months later, Moore received a Purple Heart in a ceremony here June 8.
“It hurt really bad for a few seconds and then went completely numb,” said Moore, the platoon commander for Company D, 1st Platoon, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
On Dec. 11, 2004, Moore and his crew were approaching a house said to have close to 20 insurgents inside.
“With the infantry pushing to gain entry, using the main gun to fire inside was not an option,” said Moore.
During the raid, Moore saw two insurgents attempting to escape.
“I spotted them as they were jumping over a wall. I immediately grabbed my rifle, popped out of the turret and began to fire in their direction,” said Moore.
Catching a glimpse of Moore out in the open, an insurgent capitalized on the opportunity and took a clear shot.
“I was losing a lot of blood, so the Doc immediately called for a medevac. I was put into a humvee and taken to Bravo Surgical Center,” said Moore.
After his one-week stay in the hospital, Moore spent about five weeks on limited duty before re-joining the fight.
“I didn’t want to leave my guys. All I could do was hope that the wound would heal quickly so I could get back out there. It was an unfortunate thing to happen, but I was fortunate that it wasn’t much worse,” said Moore.
Though it was his first deployment overseas, Moore was well aware of the dangers involved.
“You can’t dwell on it. There’s always that possibility of getting injured; it comes with the job. All you can do is stay disciplined, stay focused and take no unnecessary risks,” said Moore.
Since March 2003, 2nd AABN Marines and Sailors have earned 59 Purple Hearts for wounds received during Operation Iraqi Freedom; four of those Marines were awarded a gold star in lieu of second award. Eight Purple Hearts were awarded posthumously.