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(from left to right) Lt. Col. Eduardo Abisellan, the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment; Capt. Jarrod Overton, the commanding officer of Battery I; Staff Sgt. Lawrence Salcido, the battalion's local security chief; Sgt. Robert DeLuca, an ammunition technician; and Sgt. Maj. Robert Caldwell, the battalion sergeant major, pose for a photo during a promotions and awards ceremony Feb. 1. Overton, Salcido and DeLuca were all awarded Purple Heart Medals for wounds they received while on a mounted patrol during the battalion's deployment to Afghanistan last year.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

3rd Bn., 11th Marines, presents Purple Hearts

5 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

"Let it be known that he who wears the Military Order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen.”

When George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit on Aug. 7, 1782, while in command of the Continental Army, the award was intended to identify and honor America’s service members who were wounded or killed in battle while defending the nation.

In keeping with Washington’s tradition, three Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, received the Purple Heart Medal Feb. 1 during a promotions and awards ceremony.

Capt. Jarrod Overton, the commanding officer of Battery I; Staff Sgt. Lawrence Salcido, the battalion’s local security chief; and Sgt. Robert DeLuca, an ammunition technician, all earned the medal for wounds they received while deployed to Afghanistan last year. All three recipients were wounded by improvised explosive devices.

Salcido said he and 17 other Marines were sent on a mounted patrol to find insurgents who had attacked a convoy the previous day.

“When we stopped our vehicle to use Expray and the vehicle moved that last little bit from putting it into park the IED went off,” he said.

According to the Plexus Scientific Web site, http://www.expray.com, Expray is a unique, aerosol-based field test kit for the detection and identification of explosives and compounds containing inorganic nitrates, which are used to make IEDs.

Before awarding the medals, Lt. Col. Eduardo Abisellan, the battalion’s commanding officer, spoke to the Marines and sailors about the Purple Heart recipients’ sacrifice.

“These young men gave willingly of themselves and served our nation in-time of need,” said the Miami native. “They possess a tremendous spirit, dedication and love for our nation, the Corps, and for one another. I know they are humbled by the presentation, but not nearly as humbled as I am for being able to present it to them.”

Since the battalion returned from Afghanistan, the Marines and sailors have been conducting training exercises in support of infantry battalions and in preparation for future deployments.

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