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Guam- Naval Petty Officer 1st Class Benny Flores was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his heroic actions during his deployment to southwest Afghanistan last year. Despite being injured, Flores provided life saving medical care to wounded Marines and Afghan Uniform Police.
Surrounded by his family and colleagues, Flores was given the military's third highest award for valor at Camp Pendleton, California this past Saturday, May 4 (Guam time).
The seasoned Navy Corpsman, who is originally from Talofofo, received the Silver Star for medical support he provided during an enemy attack in Afghanistan that occurred on April 28, 2012. He served as a field service medical technician during combat operations.
Flores was on a convoy near the Iranian border when a suicide bomber struck the vehicle with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Ignoring his own serious injuries to his back and arms, the Navy Corpsman administered combat lifesaving skills to marines as they were being attacked on their mission.
During his ceremony, Flores says he wished all of them survived.
“I really truly wish we all came back,” said Flores. 'Unfortunately we didn't. We lost one guy. Master Sgt. Scott Pruitt and to this day, he's always in my thoughts and prayers.”
Flores grew up on Guam and graduated from Southern High School in 2001. He married his high school sweetheart, Jerrianne, and they have been raising their daughter Jaeana. He has been in the military for over 10 years and was on his third tour to the middle east. He says he's glad he did the mission because he did was what he was trained to do.
“That was my job,” said Flores. “My job is to take care of the Marines and support them. And I’ll be happy to go on any other mission for our marines and for our brothers and sisters in arms.”
He also thanks his wife and his family for their enduring support. He recalls even when he could have gone home after the attack, he told his wife he chose to stay and finish the mission.
“My wife wanted to choke me when I told her I wanted to stay out for the remainder of the deployment, even though I was hurt,” said Flores. “I had a chance to go back home but I told her I wanted to stay out there. I know she wanted to choke me through the phone because she couldn't understand. But sooner or later I told her the bond between a marine and a corpsman, especially with our unit. We got to take care of each other and we always got to support each other.”
While being honored for his selfless act of bravery, Flores continues to maintain a positive and humble outlook on his experience.
“I'm just one little speck in a big environment of all of what corpsmen do out there in the battlefield,” said Flores. “So thank you very much for being here today and hope to see you in the future.”