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Puerto Rican soldier first Army nurse killed in Iraq war


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© AP

Puerto Rican soldier first Army nurse killed in Iraq war
Puerto Rican soldier first Army nurse killed in Iraq war
By MICHAEL MELIA - Associated Press Writer
© AP
2007-07-14 00:46:22 -

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A Puerto Rican soldier killed in a mortar attack in Baghdad's Green Zone was the first Army nurse to die from combat-related injuries in the Iraq war, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Friday.
Army Capt. Maria Ines Ortiz, 40, who had been serving in Iraq since September, was caring for wounded

Iraqis at a hospital inside the fortified district that also hosts the U.S. Embassy and Iraq's parliament, her family said.
«She touched everyone's lives and everything about her was positive,» her fiance, Juan Casiano, said from her mother's home in Pennsauken, New Jersey. «She always carried a smile.
Born in Camden, New Jersey, Ortiz grew up in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She had been assigned to Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where she was chief nurse of general medicine.
She was the only U.S. citizen among three people killed in the barrage Tuesday, one in a series of recent attacks that have added to safety concerns for key Iraqi and international officials who live and work in the Green Zone.
Her father, Jorge Ortiz, said she was not wearing body armor because she felt safe inside the walls of the central Baghdad district. It is common for people not to wear protective gear in the area, especially during warm summer months.
Ortiz, who died from her wounds Tuesday, was the first Army nurse killed in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion, according to Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.
Through January of this year, 90 Army medical personnel had been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, said Margaret Tippy, a spokeswoman for the Army Medical Command.
«It was her calling,» said Casiano, an Army veteran. «I saw in her what everyone else sees, a beautiful person who brings joy to everyone she touches.

Ortiz is survived by her parents, and four sisters in New Jersey and Florida. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.
Associated Press writer Yaisha Vargas contributed to this report.




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