Portola graduate receives Purple Heart from president

Chief hospital corpsman and Portola native Richard Allen Whitney II, of the United States Navy, visits with President Barack Obama after receiving the Purple Heart for wounds received in action while he was serving in Afghanistan. From left to right: Whitney, his wife Shelly, President Obama and Whitney’s mother April. Photo submitted
Carolyn Shipp
Staff Writer

Portola High School graduate and Chief Hospital Corpsman Richard Allen Whitney II, of the United States Navy, received the Purple Heart medal for wounds received in action while in Afghanistan.

On Mach 17, President Barack Obama personally presented Whitney with the recognition at Walter Reed National Military Hospital Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Whitney is one of Portola’s own. He attended Portola High School. He played basketball and he worked a Leonard’s. When he graduated in 1996, he began his 18-year career in the Navy just a few days later.

His stepmother, Jill Whitney, said he had always wanted to be a corpsman. He underwent tough training that gave him life-saving techniques and skills that helped him succeed at his job.

His position connected him to the Navy and to the Marines. In fact, he was stationed with the Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan when explosives hit his vehicle Feb. 28.

Two other soldiers were in the vehicle with him and, though he suffered critical injuries, he still performed his duties as a corpsman to his fellow soldiers.

“The whole family is so proud of his actions and so

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