ERIC “Iron Fist” MORANTE
U.S. MARINE - Corporal Purple Heart Recipient
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Eric enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2003. Promoted to lance corporal while deployed to the combat zone, Eric’s unit took part in Operation Ripper Sweep. On July 4, 2005, his battalion returned for a 2nd deployment to Iraq and Eric was promoted to corporal. After returning for a voluntary 3rd deployment to Iraq in 2007, Morante’s squad was attacked by a suicide bomber in the town of Saqlawiya. The members of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines would later learn that an Iraqi suicide bomber had driven a dump truck just under the checkpoint and ignited 3,000 pounds of explosives with his cellphone. Eric and others were flown by helicopter to a combat hospital in Balad, Iraq, where surgeons removed Eric’s right leg at the knee. He was only 22 years old. Others in his squad were also severely injured. Eric’s life and the lives of his brothers were changed forever, and Eric was presented the Purple Heart by former President George W. Bush for being wounded in combat.
After retiring medically from the Marine Corps in 2010, Morante pursued his passion for boxing, and is the first Marine amputee sanctioned to compete in boxing in the United States. Eric “Iron Fist” Morante has helped motivate and inspire other veterans, as well as children with disabilities, by speaking to them at different events. He is currently trying to pursue boxing to be open for the Paralympic games, in which he would like to attend and achieve a gold medal. Eric’s leadership continues outside of the Marine Corps, and he hopes to help change the lives of those who are in need. Eric holds the title of NABA featherweight boxing champion for the fourth year in a row!