Purple Heart organization elects thrice-wounded Iraq war veteran as commander
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 25, 2019
The Military Order of the Purple Heart elected its first post-9/11 combat-wounded veteran as commander during its national convention earlier this month.
Felix Garcia, a medically retired Marine who lives in Sugar Land, Texas, was chosen during the convention, held July 8-12 in Branson, Mo., according to a statement from the organization.
Garcia, who joined the Marine Corps in 1992, received three Purple Hearts for wounds sustained during combat in two tours in Iraq.
He served as a squad leader and a platoon sergeant in 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines during the invasion and the subsequent push on Fallujah in 2004, the statement said.
During the Battle of Fallujah, he received shrapnel wounds and a concussion from a roadside bomb. A few months later, he was hit again by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade, resulting in traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for Valor.
Garcia was medically retired from the Marine Corps in June 2006.
He previously commanded MOPH chapters in Florida and Texas before becoming commander of the Department of Texas.
In 2017 he was elected to the leadership of the national organization as junior vice commander, stepping up to senior vice commander in 2018.
“I am honored to be entrusted with the mission of carrying on the traditions and legacy of this great Order by my generation and, just as important, to honor the generations of combat wounded veterans that came before us,” Garcia said in the statement.
The mission of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is “to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and most importantly, provide service to all veterans and their families,” according to the group’s website.