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Maria I. Ortiz

Maria I. Ortiz

Died: July 10, 2007

Rank: Captain

Unit: 28th Combat Support Hospital

Branch: U.S. Army

Army Nurse Corps Captain Maria Ines Ortiz was returning to her barracks after physi­cal training on July 10, 2007, when she was killed by shrapnel from a mortar attack. The 40-year-old was the first female Army nurse killed in combat since the Vietnam War. At the time of her death, she was assigned to the 28th Combat Support Hospital, located in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Colleagues held a memorial service for her there and shared poignant examples of how she touched their lives. Another ceremony took place on July 18, 2007, at Ab­erdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where Maria formerly served. A pair of combat boots, a helmet, and Ortiz’s dog tags were arranged prominently on the Post Chapel’s altar. Many came forward to salute the display. Hundreds of mourners bid farewell to this esteemed Army nurse at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, on August 9, 2007, where a horse-drawn caisson carried Ortiz to her final resting place. An honor guard then rendered a 21-gun salute in a tribute to her.

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