During National Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Ramona M. Valdez, who was killed in action in Iraq.
Ramona M. Valdez was born in the Dominican Republic. She immigrated to Bronx, New York as a child with her mother and sister. She graduated from Jane Addams High School at the age of 15. Valdez attended community college before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2002 to help provide for her family.
She completed basic training at Parris Island in South Carolina and went to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. It was here that she became a communications specialist and met her future husband. Serving with the 2nd Marine Division, Valdez worked with the counter improvised explosive device working group. Her knowledge of single-channel radios contributed to the group’s success and had a significant influence on the communications field.
As a part of the Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Valdez deployed to Iraq in January 2005. While serving with the Female Search Force, she monitored security checkpoints and searched Iraqi women and children.
Valdez planned to leave the Marine Corps and live near her family in Pennsylvania to pursue a career in law enforcement. However, in June of 2005, as her convoy returned to Camp Fallujah, a suicide bomber drove a car into them. The explosion killed Valdez as well as five others. Valdez was only three days from her 21st birthday when she passed away.
She received a Purple Heart, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal and an Iraq Campaign Medal.
In 2007, the Marine Corps renamed the II MEF Communications Training Center to the Valdez Training Facility to honor Valdez’s contributions to the communications field. Valdez is survived by her husband, mother, father and younger sisters.
We honor her service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.