Soldier receives Purple Heart, becomes U.S. citizen
November 5, 2009
- Spc. Williams Martinez was honored and recognized for his bravery with a Purple Heart at Fort Sam Houston.
- Spc. Williams Martinez was also naturalized as a U.S. citizen during the ceremony.
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Spc. Williams Martinez was honored and recognized for his bravery with a Purple Heart at the Fort Sam Houston Warrior and Family Support Center courtyard Oct. 30. A native of Santiago, Chile, Martinez was also naturalized as a U.S. citizen during the ceremony.
"My biggest joy is to be an American citizen," Martinez said. "Thank you everyone for your support and taking great care of me at BAMC and Fisher House. This is a great country and I'm proud to be an American."
Martinez was sworn in by U.S. District Judge John Primomo, who officially validated his citizenship. Primomo said it is not every day he presides in a naturalization ceremony for someone who has fought for our country before becoming a citizen.
"This is an extraordinary accomplishment and I congratulate you," said Primomo.
Brig. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins, deputy commanding general with the U.S. Army North was the presenter at the ceremony. He welcomed and recognized Martinez for his selfless service and brave action in receiving the Purple Heart medal.
"This ceremony is truly special. He (Martinez) has fought for our country even before becoming a U.S. Citizen is an amazing thing," said Wiggins.
Martinez was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Mountain Warrior, 10th Mountain Division, serving as an Infantryman in Afghanistan.
While on a dismounted patrol, he and his fellow Soldiers were attacked by sniper and indirect fire resulting in his combat injuries.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the U.S. wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration and the oldest military honor in the world in use.