Hector Santiago-Colon MOH

b. 20/12/1942 Salinas, Puerto Rico. d. 28/06/1968 Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 28/06/1968 Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.

Hector Santiago-Colon MOH

Santiago-Colón was one of twelve siblings born to Pablo Santiago and Petronila Colón in Salinas, Puerto Rico. There he received his primary and secondary education. In 1960 his family moved to the mainland United States and lived in New York City. After living in the city for a short time, Santiago-Colón decided that he wanted to be part of the NYPD (New York City Police Department), however, at the time, in order to become a member of the NYPD you had to be a veteran. Santiago-Colon then volunteered to join the United States Army. He was engaged to be married to his elementary school sweetheart at the time. After completing his basic training, he was assigned to a unit stationed in the Republic of Vietnam.

Santiago-Colón posthumously received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. The award was presented to his family in a ceremony at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon on April 7, 1970.



For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Santiago-Colon distinguished himself 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 the enemy weapons indicated their positions. Sp4c. Santiago-Colon and the other members of his platoon 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-Colon’s foxhole. Realizing that there was no time to throw the grenade out of his position, Sp4c. Santiago-Colon retrieved the grenade, tucked it into 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.