BOSTON, – “It was unexpected,” said Sgt. David Bravo-Martinez, who deployed to Iraq from 2009-2010, as a combat medic with the Massachusetts National Guard’s 211th Military Police Battalion, “You just do your job, not expecting any rewards.”
The rewards came later, in Boston, Aug. 23, 2011 during the Blacks In Government organization’s national training conference. Bravo-Martinez was one of three National Guardsmen, and the only one from Massachusetts to receive the group’s Department of Defense Military Meritorious Service Award.
One day while he was deployed, Bravo-Martinez was part of a patrol that was working with Iraqi corrections officers when a nearby Iraqi civilian collapsed and fell to the ground. Bravo-Martinez went to the aid the civilian. The man had trouble breathing and a low pulse rate. Bravo-Martinez performed mouth to mouth resuscitation on the individual, inserted an intravenous line and administered fluids and continued to provide first-aid until the man was transported to a local hospital.
The civilian had been injured and was bleeding internally; Bravo-Martinez’s actions saved the man’s life.
As part of his duties while deployed, Bravo-Martinez also aided Iraqi doctors at a nearby detention facility. One morning during sick-call one of the detainees complained of pain in his abdomen. After examining the detainee, Bravo-Martinez suspected that the man might be suffering from appendicitis and ordered blood work to confirm his suspicions. Within a few hours the detainee was rushed to a medical treatment facility for an emergency appendectomy.
It was for these and other actions that Bravo-Martinez preformed while he was deployed; that resulted in this award.
“His story just says it all,” said Ms. Jacqueline Ray-Morris, Minority College Outreach Program Manager, National Guard Bureau, “The National Guard is blessed to have these types of individuals within the ranks.”
It is important to note that while the constituents of the Blacks In Government organization are African-Americans, both military and civilian federal employees, the people they recognize for their DoD Meritorious Service Award do not have to be African-American; Bravo-Martinez is Mexican-American.
“Blacks In Government is a proponent for community and outreach collaborations and efforts,” said Ray-Morris, “The prerequisite is not that you have to be a person of color, the prerequisite is that you have to have done some service that is outstanding … over and above.”
The B.I.G. organization is an advocacy, resource and support group for African American serving in the military and civilian sectors of the federal government.
B.I.G presented a total of fourteen awards to individuals, both military and civilian, from all branches of the federal government.