Alejandro Renteria Ruiz Snr MOH

b. 26/04/1924 Loving, New Mexico. d. 20/11/2009 Yountville, California.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 28/04/1945 Okinawa, Japan.

Alejandro R Ruiz MOH

Ruiz, a Mexican-American, was born and raised in Loving, New Mexico, and enlisted in the United States Army in the town of Carlsbad, New Mexico upon the outbreak of World War II. He was assigned to the U.S. 27th Infantry Division after completing basic training.

During World War II, the conquest of the Japanese island of Okinawa was considered vital for the Allied forces as a step towards an invasion of the Japanese mainland. The invasion (codenamed Operation Iceberg) was the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific war, and involved units of the U.S. Tenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. These consisted of III Amphibious Corps (1st and 6th Marine Divisions, with 2nd Marine Division as an afloat reserve), and XXIV Corps (7th, 77th, 96th and 27th Infantry Divisions).

On April 28, 1945, PFC Ruiz’s unit was pinned down by machine gun fire coming from a camouflaged Japanese pillbox and was unable to advance to its assigned objective. Ruiz, on his own initiative, charged the pillbox under a hail of machine gun fire. On his second attempt, he was able to neutralize the pillbox by killing all of its occupants. For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor. On June 26, 1946, President Harry S. Truman presented Ruiz with the Medal of Honor in a ceremony held at the White House.

He served in the Korean War, finally retiring in the mid-1960s as a master sergeant.



When his unit was stopped by a skillfully camouflaged enemy pillbox, he displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. His squad, suddenly brought under a hail of machine-gun fire and a vicious grenade attack, was pinned down. Jumping to his feet, Pfc. Ruiz seized an automatic rifle and lunged through the flying grenades and rifle and automatic fire for the top of the emplacement. When an enemy soldier charged him, his rifle jammed. Undaunted, Pfc. Ruiz whirled on his assailant and clubbed him down. Then he ran back through bullets and grenades, seized more ammunition and another automatic rifle, and again made for the pillbox. Enemy fire now was concentrated on him, but he charged on, miraculously reaching the position, and in plain view he climbed to the top. Leaping from one opening to another, he sent burst after burst into the pillbox, killing 12 of the enemy and completely destroying the position. Pfc. Ruiz’s heroic conduct, in the face of overwhelming odds, saved the lives of many comrades and eliminated an obstacle that long would have checked his unit’s advance