Popular Army Nurse is the First Killed in Combat Since Vietnam

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A nurse who worked at a combat support hospital in Iraq was killed in July, making her the first Army nurse casualty of the war.

Throughout our country’s history, nurses have often been called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Nurses have a proud history of providing nursing care and leadership in the military. U.S. Army Capt. Maria I. Ortiz, 40, born in Pennsauken, NJ, and raised in Puerto Rico, died July 10 after suffering injuries from a mortar attack in Baghdad’s “Green Zone,” according to published reports. Prior to volunteering for duty in the combat zone, Ortiz served at an Army health clinic at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. She also had been stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, and in Puerto Rico.

Ortiz will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in a special ceremony honoring her service. Additionally, media reports said officials are considering naming a part of the new Walter Reed Medical Center honoring her and other nurses’ contributions in combat zones.