Local Marine honored for bravery

August 13, 2013 (GREAT LAKES NAVAL STATION, Ill.)

Sergeant Luis Carlos Garcia of Lake Forest received the Navy and Marine Corps medal Tuesday at Great Lakes Naval Station.

The Navy and Marine Corps medal presented to Garcia is given to individuals who distinguish themselves by heroism for acts of lifesaving, or attempted lifesaving. It is required that the action be performed at the risk of one's own life.

"It feels good... at the same time, anybody would of done it," Garcia said.

The award is the highest a Marine can receive for heroism in incidents not involving action against enemy forces.

While on a mission, Sgt. Garcia and his team were misidentified as hostile forces by a sniper team who engaged them with automatic rifle fire. After a corpsman was wounded trying to save a wounded Marine, Garcia leapt into action to save both the Marine and the corpsman while continuing to take fire.

"At the time, we did not know it was friendly fire. As soon as we found out it was friendly fire, we had a mission, and before we could settle our differences we had to finish the mission," Garcia said.

It is a happy day for garcia's family. The 22-year-old is now the proud father of 1-month-old Luis.

"I am very proud of my husband and glad they are able to honor him today," said wife Maribel Garcia.

"I think he was just doing his job," said mom Laura Garcia. "I am very proud of him and grateful that he is here."

"I was scared at the moment. The only thing that went through my head is that I had two Marines critically wounded. We had to get them out," Luis Garcia said.

Garcia's father was in the Air Force, and his sister was in the National Guard. He said he keeps in touch with the men he helped rescue.

Garcia is in college. His goal is to be a firefighter and emergency paramedic.

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