Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient
Sp4c. Hector Santiago-Colon
U.S. Army, Company B, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry
Division (Air mobile)
Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam,
28 June 1968
Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 20 December
1942, Salinas, Puerto Rico
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c.
Santiago-Colon distinguished at the cost of his life while serving as a
gunner in the mortar platoon of Company B. While serving as a perimeter
sentry, Sp4c. Santiago Colon heard distinct movement in the heavily wooded
area to his front and flanks. Immediately he alerted his fellow sentries
in the area to move to their foxholes and remain alert for any enemy probing
forces. From the wooded area around his position heavy enemy automatic
weapons and small-arms fire suddenly broke out, but extreme darkness rendered
difficult the precise location and identification of the hostile force.
Only the muzzle flashes from enemy weapons indicated their position. Sp4c.
Santiago-Colon and the other members of his position immediately began
to repel the attackers, utilizing hand grenades, antipersonnel mines and
small-arms fire. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire and exploding grenades
around them, a North Vietnamese soldier was able to crawl, undetected,
to their position. Suddenly, the enemy soldier lobbed a hand grenade into
Sp4c. Santiago-Colons's foxhole. Realizing that there was no time to throw
the grenade out of his position, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon retrieved the grenade,
tucked it in to his stomach and, turning away from his comrades, absorbed
the full impact of the blast. His heroic self-sacrifice saved the lives
of those who occupied the foxhole with him, and provided them with the
inspiration to continue fighting until they had forced the enemy to retreat
from the perimeter. By his gallantry at the cost of his life and in the
highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c Santiago-colon has reflected
great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.