b. 26/07/1948 Juarez, Mexico. d. 17/02/1977 Riverside, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 10/04/1969 Tay Ninh, Vietnam.
Duran was born, July 26, 1948, in Juarez, Mexico. He was the sixth of twelve siblings. Duran joined the U.S. Army on May 13, 1968, and was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to support Search and Destroy missions. After leaving the military, Duran pursued a career as a corrections officer at a juvenile detention center in San Bernardino, California, dedicating personal time to mentoring youths and leading them on educational trips. He married twice and had two children. Duran died on February 17, 1977, and is buried at Olivewood Memorial Park in Riverside, California. Jesus Duran’s actions in Tay Ninh, Vietnam on 10 April 1969 were not recognised at the time due to Hispanic American heritage.
His award finally came about through the Defense Authorization Act which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.
Duran’s daughter, Tina Duran-Ruvalcaba, received the Medal of Honor on his behalf from President Barack Obama in a March 18, 2014 White House ceremony. The following day, she received the Medal of Honor flag from Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, in a ceremony where Duran was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.
Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting M-60 machinegunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on April 10, 1969. That afternoon, the reconnaissance platoon was moving into an elaborate enemy bunker complex when the lead elements began taking concentrated ambush fire from every side. The command post was in imminent danger of being overrun. With an M-60 machinegun blazing from his hip, Specialist Four Duran rushed forward and assumed a defensive position near the command post. As hostile forces stormed forward, Specialist Four Duran stood tall in a cloud of dust raised by the impacting rounds and bursting grenades directed towards him and thwarted the enemy with devastating streams of machinegun fire. Learning that two seriously wounded troopers lay helplessly pinned down under harassing fire, Specialist Four Duran assaulted the suppressive enemy positions, firing deadly bursts on the run. Mounting a log, he fired directly into the enemy’s foxholes, eliminating four and cutting down several others as they fled. Specialist Four Duran then continued to pour effective fire on the disorganized and fleeing enemy.
BURIAL LOCATION: OLIVEWOOD CEMETERY, RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA.
NORTH LAWN, DIVISION 1, GRAVE 64, SPACE 3
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.