NEW ORLEANS --
The Navy Cross will be awarded to Marine Corps veteran Lance Cpl. Benjamin Gonzalez, upgraded from the Silver Star, on November 14, 2017 for his actions on June 18, 2014 while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
There will be a presentation ceremony at 1 p.m. at the Navy Operational Support Center, 4810 Pollard Street in El Paso, Texas.
Lance Cpl. Gonzales was serving in Al Fallujah, Iraq, as an automatic rifleman with Company F, Second Battalion, First Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, when a motorcycle-borne insurgent threw a hand grenade into his fighting hole. Lance Cpl. Gonzalez threw himself on a fellow Marine, shielding him from the blast.
Lance Cpl. Gonzales previously received the Silver Star for his heroic actions. The Navy Cross is the United States military's second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat.
The Navy Cross will be presented to Lance Cpl. Gonzales by Major Gen. David Bellon, director of Marine Corps Reserve Affairs.
Media are encouraged to attend. Please confirm attendance by November 13, 2017 by contacting 2nd Lt. Stephanie Leguizamon at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org and arrive 45 minutes prior to the ceremony for check-in.
Photos from the ceremony will be available at www.dvidshub.net/units/usmcrc
Press Kit Available at http://www.marforres.marines.mil/Marine-Reserve-News-Photos/Electronic-Press-Kit/2017/Press-Kit-NOV172017/