Soldier Honored: Orlando Morales
Hometown: Orocovis, Puerto Rico
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Army Staff Sergeant Orlando Morales was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. SSG Morales’ unit was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. SSG Morales died after being wounded when his mounted reconnaissance unit took hostile fire in an ambush in Gereshk, Afghanistan on March 29, 2003.
SSG Morales was a native of Orocovis, Puerto Rico, who enlisted in the Army on Oct. 23, 1996, as an infantryman and completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In November 2002, Morales completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and joined 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His awards include the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He also earned the Parachutist Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Special Forces Tab. SSG Morales was proud to be a soldier and loved what he was doing. He became a Ranger and went all over the world including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
On August 30, 2011, Fort Bragg dedicated its brand-new School Age Services center on Linden Oaks in honor of SSG Morales. SSG Morales’ daughter and wife both attended the ceremony, where his daughter said "my dad was a courageous man, an honorable man. It's an honor for you to have specially chosen him for this dedication. It feels good to know that someone cares."
SSG Morales’ daughter is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.