b. 15/07/1929 El Paso, Texas. d. 17/04/1986 El Paso, Texas.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/08/1952 Chorwon, Korea.
Espinoza was born in El Paso, Texas on July 15, 1929. Orphaned at an early age, he remained in foster care until joining the military.He served in the U.S. Army as a Master Sergeant. After leaving the Army, Espinoza resided in El Paso until his death on April 17, 1986. As an Acting Rifleman, Corporal, 2d Infantry Division, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014, for action on August 1, 1952, at Chorwon, Korea.
While spearheading an attack to secure Old Baldy, Espinoza’s unit was pinned down by withering fire from fortified enemy positions. In daring succession, Espinoza single-handedly silenced a machine-gun and its crew, discovered and destroyed a covert enemy tunnel, and wiped out two bunkers. His actions inspired his unit and enabled them to secure the strong-point against great odds.
President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to his nephew Tyronne Espinoza at the White House.
Corporal Victor H. Espinoza distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Acting Rifleman in Company A, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Chorwon, Korea on August 1, 1952. On that day, Corporal Espinoza and his unit were responsible for securing and holding a vital enemy hill. As the friendly unit neared its objective, it was subjected to a devastating volume of enemy fire, slowing its progress. Corporal Espinoza, unhesitatingly and being fully aware of the hazards involved, left his place of comparative safety and made a deliberate one man assault on the enemy with his rifle and grenades, destroying a machinegun and killing its crew. Corporal Espinoza continued across the fire-swept terrain to an exposed vantage point where he attacked an enemy mortar position and two bunkers with grenades and rifle fire, knocking out the enemy mortar position and destroying both bunkers and killing their occupants. Upon reaching the crest, and after running out of rifle ammunition, he called for more grenades. A comrade who was behind him threw some Chinese grenades to him. Immediately upon catching them, he pulled the pins and hurled them into the occupied trenches, killing and wounding more of the enemy with their own weapons. Continuing on through a tunnel, Corporal Espinoza made a daring charge, inflicting at least seven more casualties upon the enemy who were fast retreating into the tunnel. Corporal Espinoza was quickly in pursuit, but the hostile fire from the opening prevented him from overtaking the retreating enemy. As a result, Corporal Espinoza destroyed the tunnel with TNT, called for more grenades from his company, and hurled them at the enemy troops until they were out of reach. Corporal Espinoza’s incredible display of valor secured the vital strong point and took a heavy toll on the enemy, resulting in at least fourteen dead and eleven wounded.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT BLISS NATIONAL CEMETERY, EL PASO, TEXAS.
SECTION F, SITE 1115
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.