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Julia Coty


Heroes Around Us

Name- Olinser Perez

Branch- U.S Marines

Hometown-San Leandro, California

Years served- 2003-2014

Major- Engineer Technology

20 miles northeast of Baghdad, the closest town being Karma near Al-Anbar Province, platoon sergeant Olinser Perez and his two other men were tasked with a mission to recover a team that had gotten bombed by an IED.

Being the lead machine gunner with an M240 Golf machine gun, Perez kept close watch ahead for his tactical truck. Scouting the open farmland area and firing warning shots for Iraqi locals to clear way for their route, their truck suddenly flipped completely over into a water hole. The tall grass, creating perfect cover, had hidden the water hole.

Thinking he was going to drown, his first instinct was to remove his 60 pounds of gear. Noticing the water rising, Perez finally escaped through the top hatch where he was positioned. His next concern was his two men. Fortunately, the two men were able to stay afloat by the door, which provided a safe place with air while help came.

Having set up security around the ground area of the truck, Perez and his team had to wait until morning for help to come.

While waiting for help, Perez and his team found themselves under a sniper attack. Pop shots being fired, Perez estimated about three rounds being shot, forcing them to wait it out until the sniper ceased.

Once help came they were able to return to base, their original mission having already been resolved during the duration of their distress. Their base was five miles away, but having to salvage and bring their tactical truck back, it took them all day.

Perez and his men were able to walk away from the incident with minimal injuries and heat exhaustion.

During his time in the Marines, Perez had been on three deployments, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. His first deployment was originally a western pacific deployment in Thailand but suddenly a troop surge was issued. Perez and his unit were shipped out to the Middle East instead of Thailand.

Perez served in the 3rd Battalion 1st Marines’ Headquarters and Support Company along with the Motor Transport Platoon. He worked mostly with logistical jobs including motor transports, which entailed transporting marine personnel, equipment and gear in multiple combat convoys.

Since his experience in the Marines, Perez now attends LPC with a major in engineer technology. Shortly after the military, in 2016, Perez was an intern at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was a part of the materials engineering division.

When he’s not in class, Perez loves spending time with his son doing activities like golfing and swimming.

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