Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates the people who lost their lives while in service in the U.S. armed forces. This article honors local Miami heroes who fought and died in Operation Enduring
Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. May their brave souls rest in peace:
Army Capt. Andrew M. Pedersen-Kee, 28, of South Miami
Died March 11, 2013 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died March 11 in Jalrez district, Afghanistan, of small-arms fire from an Afghan security forces member.
Navy Hospital Corpsman Edwin Gonzalez, 22, of North Miami Beach
Died October 8, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Forces, Atlantic, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Oct. 8 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while supporting combat operations.
Navy Hospital Corpsman William Ortega, 23, of Miami
Died June 18, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 18 in Garmsir district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations.
Army Staff Sgt. Amilcar H. Gonzalez, 26, of Miami
Died May 21, 2010 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died May 21 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.
Marine Lance Cpl. Nelson M. Lantigua, 20, of Miami
Died March 31, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died March 31 in Taqaddum, Iraq, as the result of a non-hostile incident.
Army Spc. Jessica Y. Sarandrea, 22, of Miami
Died March 3, 2009 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died March 3 in Mosul, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked her forward operating base with mortar fire.
Marine Lance Cpl. Rene Martinez, 20, of Miami
Died September 24, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Sept. 24 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Habbaniyah, Iraq.
Daily, heroes like these, of every branch, rank and specialty, fight for and defend life and liberty worldwide. They do it selflessly, consciously, and voluntarily because they, more than anyone else, know that there is nothing free about freedom. Semper Fi, patriots. At ease!
Luis Ortega is a U.S. Marine Corps Captain who served alongside many outstanding soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen. He owns and operates Security Arms International, a firearms school and store in Palmetto Bay. For more information about the local heroes depicted above and others, please reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org (Source: Military Times)