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Santiago J. Erevia
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Military Personnel
    (December 15, 1946-March 22, 2016)
    Born in Nordheim, Texas
    US Army radio telephone operator during the Vietnam War
    During a search and clear mission near Tam Ky, single-handedly destroyed three enemy bunkers with grenades and shot the occupants of a fourth bunker (May 21, 1969)
    Received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions
    After serving in Vietnam, became a mail carrier for the US Postal Service (1970-2002)
    After a review of military records, received the Medal of Honor (March 18, 2014)
    He dropped out of high school.
    He did not receive the Medal of Honor until 45 years after performing the deed that earned it.
    According to his son Jesse, he had ‘mixed feelings’ about military honors in general.
    His explanation of his actions: ‘It was either do or die. I said, ‘Well, if I’m going to die, I might as well die fighting.’’
    The report recommending him for the Medal of Honor noted that several wounded soldiers were pinned down by intense fire and concluded that without Erevia’s actions ‘it is doubtful that they would have survived the day.’
    In a defense appropriations bill, Congress ordered the Pentagon to review records from World War II, Korea and Vietnam to determine if discrimination had prevented Hispanic and Jewish veterans from receiving the Medal of Honor (2002).
    Of 24 people who received the Medal of Honor as a result of the review, he was one of only three who were alive to attend the award ceremony at the White House.
    His son Roland served with the Army in Iraq (2003).

Credit: C. Fishel


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