The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps

Emilio De La Garza Jr.


Lance Corporal Emilio A. De La Garza Jr.
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in the Republic of Vietnam on April 11, 1970. Returning with his squad from a night ambush operation, Lance Corporal De La Garza joined his Platoon commander and another Marine in searcing for two enemuy soldiers who had been observed fleeing for cover toward a small pond. Moments later, he located one of the enemy soldiers hiding among theĀ  reeds and brush. As the three Marines attempted to remove the risisting soldier from the pond, Lance Corporal De La Garza observed him pull the pin on a grenade. Shouting a warning, Lance Corporal De La Garza placed himself between the other two Marines and the ensuing blast from the grenade, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the sacrifice of his own. By his prompt and decisive action, and his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal De La Garza upheld and further enhanced the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Richard M. Nixon
President of the United States

Amilio Albert De La Garza, Jr., who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during July 1969 in Vietnam, was born 23 June 1949, in East Chicago, Indiana, and graduated from Washington High School there in 1968. For a year, he was employed by Inland Steel in East Chicago.

He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps 4 February 1969, in Chicago, Illinois. Transferred to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, he received recruit training with the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment.

Upon completion of recruit training, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, where he joined the 2d Infantry Training Regiment and underwent individual combat training with the 1st and 2d Battalions, and weapons training with the Basic Infantry Training Battalion.

Promoted to private first class, 1 July 1969, he arrived in the Republic of Vietnam on the 25th of July for duty as ammo carrier, Company H, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division. On 29 September 1969, he was reassigned to the 1st Marine Division and served as a Marine Corps exchange man with Headquarters and Service Company, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, until the following December. He was promoted to lance corporal on 1 February 1970.

Corporal De La Garza then joined Company E, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. While serving as a machine gunner on a squad size patrol with the 3d Platoon of Company E, approximately four miles south of Da Nang on 11 April 1970, he was mortally wounded.

His medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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