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Local Marine Awarded Medal For Bravery In Afghanistan

(CBS) -- It is a high military honor for bravery, once awarded to John F. Kennedy years before he was elected president.

Today, a former Marine from the Chicago area had that same medal pinned on his shirt. CBS 2's Jim Williams was at the Great Lakes Naval Station for the ceremony.

One by one, Marines shook the hand of the young man who once wore their uniform.

Five months ago, Sergeant Luis Garcia of Lake Forest left the service a hero. He returned today to have his actions stamped with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.

Last year, Garcia displayed his bravery in the middle of a terrible mistake in Afghanistan. An American sniper team thought Garcia and other Marines were the enemy. Two Marines were hit.

"Bodies just started dropping, you're going to get a little scared," said Garcia.

Still, Garcia ran to their aid.

When asked if he thought of the danger he was in, Garcia responded, "To be honest, no. I kind of just left it all out, blocked it out and went in to auto pilot.

Garcia himself took two shots but was wearing his body armor. He saved his men, refused medical treatment and continued with his mission.

"It makes me realize how appreciative I should be and now that I have my family and the bigger things in life," said Garcia.

Such as his wife Maribel baby son, and his parents, all of whom were at Great Lakes Tuesday.

"I am very proud and I'm very grateful because he's here," said Laura Gacia, his mother.

Garcia's award is the highest honor a Marine can receive for bravery that does not involve action against enemy forces. He is now in college and hopes to become a firefighter/paramedic.


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