1. Grossman, Allison


Captain Ortiz is the first nurse to die in combat since Vietnam.


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On July 10, U.S. Army Captain Maria I. Ortiz became the first military nurse to be killed in a combat setting since the Vietnam War. She was hit by a mortar round in Baghdad's Green Zone when returning from a workout.


Ortiz, 40, was deployed to Iraq last fall and served at the 28th Combat Support Hospital as head nurse of one of its two 25-bed intermediate care wards. Army officials described her as "the epitome of a professional Army nurse[horizontal ellipsis]. As a result of her superb leadership, her unit set the standard for delivery of competent, compassionate care in a combat setting."


Ortiz was born in New Jersey and grew up in Puerto Rico. She joined the military in 1992 and became a commissioned officer in 1999 after receiving a bachelor's degree in nursing. She also had a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master's degree in quality systems management.


Immediately before deploying to Iraq, Ortiz was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where she was head nurse at the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic. She volunteered for duty in Iraq, and coworkers say she was eager to go. "She felt like she was making a difference there," Renee Smith, an Aberdeen colleague, told the Washington Post.

FIGURE. A photo of C... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE. A photo of Captain Maria Ines Ortiz, killed during a mortar attack on Baghdad's Green Zone on July 10, is displayed at a memorial service held for her at the Aberdeen Proving Ground's Main Post Chapel in Aberdeen, Maryland, Wednesday, July 18. Associated Press/Kathleen Lange

Ortiz has been posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Combat Action Badge. She is survived by her fiance, her parents, and her twin sister.


Allison Grossman