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    Serving Beyond the Call: The Inspiring Story of a Marine, Police Officer, and Family Man

    Marine veteran, SDPD Patrol Sergeant receives Purple Heart medal

    Photo By Lance Cpl. Mhecaela Watts | Francisco Roman Jr., a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine...... read more read more



    Story by 2nd Lt. Jorin Hollenbeak 

    Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

    MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Two decades have passed since 1,300 Marines were ordered to begin offensive operations in Fallujah, Iraq, thrusting them into some of the toughest fighting in recent history. Those who served during this first battle of Fallujah and the fighting that followed earned their pages in today’s history books. The Global War on Terrorism began over 20 years ago, yet the sacrifices made by those involved are still felt by many to this day. Francisco Roman, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, who served during the first battle of Fallujah and was subsequently injured in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal during a ceremony held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, on Jan. 23, 2024.

    Roman was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device while leading Marines in a quick reaction force to support another squad during a firefight in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

    “We were patrolling back to our base, and I noticed that the streets were empty,” said Roman, “A mosque started playing the call the prayer. I looked back and told my squad mate that it felt like we were in a movie and the next thing I saw was a bright orange flash.”

    Roman woke up a few minutes later, stumbled to take cover, and did his best to regroup his squad. He fought through blurry vision and a tingling body to accomplish the sole mission of ensuring his Marines were ok.

    “I found my squad and asked them who got hit and they told me that I got hit, I didn’t know I got hit,” said Roman.

    Roman was not originally awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries but was convinced by his squad mates and wife to advocate for the medal. Marines who served with Roman in Ramadi were more than happy to write witness statements for him, including his platoon commander who wrote in leu of Romans company commander who was killed in action in Ramadi. General Eric Smith, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Romans battalion commander during his time in Ramadi, personally signed off on Romans Purple Heart citation and the medal was presented by Marine Corps Colonel Daniel Whitley, the deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations West. Whitley served with Roman in 2008 while on recruiting duty in Peekskill, New York.

    “Roman lives a life of service,” said Whitley “He selflessly sacrificed for his country, and he continues to sacrifice for his community.”

    Romans selfless service did not end with his time in the Marine Corps. He now serves as a police officer with the San Diego Police Department, where he heroically saved a fellow officers life in 2018. Roman was shot three times while placing his body in front of his partners to prevent his partner from receiving further wounds.

    “I took a position in front of him just in case, so it would be me to get hit next instead of him getting hit, again,” said Roman, “All I could think about was my family and protecting my partner.”

    Roman was hospitalized and induced into a coma for two days to survive. He spent 364 days in rehabilitation and continues to serve San Diego as a police officer. Roman contributes his survival to training he received while serving in the Marine Corps and looks forward to retiring from the San Diego Police Department after a full career of service. He hopes to inspire others to serve and eagerly anticipates any opportunity to help those around him.

    “We serve to help people, that’s what’s most important,”
    - Francisco Roman.



    Date Taken: 01.23.2024
    Date Posted: 01.23.2024 21:32
    Story ID: 462311
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US
    Hometown: NEWARK, NJ, US

    Web Views: 1,768
    Downloads: 2