b. 15/12/1946 Nordheim, Texas. d. 22/03/2016 San Antonio, Texas.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 21/05/1969 Tam Ky, Vietnam.
Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Santiago Erevia was born in Nordheim, Texas, in 1946. He dropped out of high school in his sophomore year and joined the U.S. Army in 1968. Following his basic training, he was sent to Vietnam where he served as a radio-telephone operator in the 101st Airborne. In 1970, he was discharged from military duty and began working as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, retiring in 2002. He also served in the Texas National Guard from 1972 until 1989. He died at the age of 69. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he also received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal (with five bronze service stars), the Vietnam Campaign Medal (with “60” device), and the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal (1st class).
Erevia was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a March 18, 2014 ceremony at the White House. The award came through the Defense Authorization Act which called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veterans from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to ensure that no prejudice was shown to those deserving the Medal of Honor.
Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during search and clear mission near Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam on May 21, 1969. After breaching an insurgent perimeter, Specialist Four Erevia was designated by his platoon leader to render first aid to several casualties, and the rest of the platoon moved forward. As he was doing so, he came under intense hostile fire from four bunkers to his left front. Although he could have taken cover with the rest of the element, he chose a retaliatory course of action. With heavy enemy fire directed at him, he moved in full view of the hostile gunners as he proceeded to crawl from one wounded man to another, gathering ammunition. Armed with two M-16 rifles and several hand grenades, he charged toward the enemy positions behind the suppressive fire of the two rifles. Under very intense fire, he continued to advance on the insurgents until he was near the first bunker. Disregarding the enemy fire, he pulled the pin from a hand grenade and advanced on the bunker, leveling suppressive fire until he could drop the grenade into the bunker, mortally wounding the insurgent and destroying the fortification. Without hesitation, he employed identical tactics as he proceeded to eliminate the next two enemy positions. With the destruction of the third bunker, Specialist Four Erevia had exhausted his supply of hand grenades. Still under intense fire from the fourth position, he courageously charged forward behind the fire emitted by his M-16 rifles. Arriving at the very edge of the bunker, he silenced the occupant within the fortification at point blank range. Through his heroic actions the lives of the wounded were saved and the members of the Company Command Post were relieved from a very precarious situation.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS.
SECTION AD, SITE 486.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.