Died February 15, 2012
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California
Marine SSgt Oscar Canon died February 15, 2012, due to complications from injuries he had sustained in October of 2004 when he was hit in the thigh by a rocket-propelled grenade during combat operations in Fallujah. Upon arriving at the medical unit, the young Marine grabbed the doctor by his collar and yelled, “Don’t cut off my f***ing leg.” That was the first of dozens of surgeries—72 separate operations over 7 years time, by a family member’s count—that saved his leg. But according to family and friends, SSgt Canon was fighting a staph infection in his leg after another surgery. While at home he recognized the infection was spreading and drove himself to the hospital. A week later he went into shock and ended up in a coma. He succumbed to the infection on February 15, 2012.
Oscar lived in constant motion; an athlete and a Marine, raised in Colombia, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey. Oscar had a magnetic personality and drew in many people who became his advocates. Ed Eckenhoff, the founder and president emeritus of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in D.C. where Oscar went for physical rehab, quickly befriended Oscar. “He was a superstar at our place,” said Eckenhoff. “He couldn’t work hard enough. He wanted as much therapy as anyone could throw at him.” He was also marked by fierce determination. He kept his severely injured leg when friends and family said it would be better to amputate. He longed to play football with his young son, Elijah. At the time, it was almost unthinkable that a Marine with such a severe injury would go back to war, but SSgt Canon did. He returned to Iraq as a Special Forces Instructor.
SSgt. Canon’s military decorations include a Purple Heart and a good conduct medal with two Bronze Stars.
SSgt. Oscar Canon was 29 years old from Dumont, New Jersey
Original portrait was presented March 22, 2013 to his family during a special event hosted by MedAssets in Plano, Texas.
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