13 Years Later, A Fallujah Marine Finally Gets The Silver Star He Deserves
From day one, the November 2004 offensive to clear Fallujah, Iraq, of enemy fighters was a grueling block-by-block fight. Deadly ambushes, booby-trapped houses, and an entrenched and well-prepared force of insurgent fighters harried the Marines every step of the way forward during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Eight days into the fight, it was just as unforgiving.
On Nov. 15, then-Cpl. Eubaldo Lovato, a squad leader with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and his Marines had successfully cleared their sector of the city when they got word that another Marine, Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato, had been shot and killed and his body taken by enemy fighters.
Lovato, along with other NCOs from the unit, grouped up with Desiato’s squad leader and made their way to the house, where at least five enemy fighters were holed up in one of the rooms, fortified by sandbags, and armed with AKs. But Desiato’s body was still in there, and the Marines knew they had to get him back.
Desiato, who was newly married, “had a death note for his wife and I knew I needed to get that and his wedding ring,” Lovato told KJCT, a Montrose, Colorado-based ABC news affiliate.
However, the Marines couldn’t do it alone, so Lovato set out to get additional grenades and called for armored support. While running down an alley to regroup with other infantrymen and get resupplied, enemy marksmen spotted him and took fire.
“There was a roadway and alley so while I was running a bullet went thru my pocket and my sling,” Lovato told KJCT. “Missed my leg by inches and right here hit my sling. It’s crazy you can feel the concussion of the bullet go right past your body.”
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