MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Lance Cpl. Johnny R. Burra was injured in combat after only a year and a half in the Marine Corps. With a broken foot and a shredded leg, the Rochester, N.Y., native’s only duty is to heal. He doesn’t even have to wear his uniform, but everyday you see him wearing it, with his combat boot on his good foot. He’s a Marine through and through.
The rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment was awarded the Purple Heart medal here Nov. 30 for injuries received while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While attached to a reaction force, Burra’s group was performing improvised explosive Device dsweeps in Karmah, a city outside of Fallujah. Afterwards, as the team headed back to the base, their humvee was hit by an IED less than five meters away. The humvee continued forward until it flipped into a canal.
“I thought I was going to drown,” Burra explained about his experience. It took us a while to find the surface and we had another Marine pinned under the humvee.
“We helped each other get out of the humvee until more Marines came to aid us,” Burra continued. “Then they called for a wrecker (truck) to pick up the humvee and free the Marine pinned underneath. Then we were medically evacuated.”
The 19-year-old received shrapnel to both legs and suffered from a broken left foot.
Now Burra resides at the Wounded Warrior Barracks. He received surgery to remove metal from his legs, and had the bone in his foot set with screws and plates. He has six months of limited duty to recover.
After his healing process Burra will return back to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment where he will complete his first enlistment.
Burra graduated from Irondequoit High School in 2004 where he played baseball and football. During sports seasons, Burra had nearly 1,400 students depend on him among other players to represent their school.
Now Burra works with a team of Marines and millions of Americans depend on Marines like him to represent their country. Burra already plans on continuing to serve the Corps after his first enlistment.
“I plan on reenlisting and staying infantry,” Burra said. “I have family members who are Marines and it’s something I always wanted to do.”