Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Antonio Flores Alvarado, who fought in the First Battle of Khe Sanh in Vietnam.
Antonio Flores Alvarado was born in June 1946 in Atascosa, Texas, and grew up in a farming community. His father leased a 500-acre farm and ranch, where he and his brothers would spend most of their free time working. When Alvarado was in his senior year of high school, he received his draft notice from the Army.
On Jan. 6, 1966, when Alvarado reported for duty, the draftees were told some of them had to join the Marines. Alvarado volunteered and went to San Diego for boot camp. Training ended in June, and after a month at home, he deployed to Vietnam in July. Alvarado served with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines.
On March 25, 1967, Alvarado’s platoon fell under enemy fire while halfway through clearing a field. There was nowhere to hide while they were waiting for air support. A mortar exploded only 30 feet away from them. Several Marines were killed and at least six were wounded, including Alvarado, who suffered a leg injury. After a few weeks in the hospital, he returned to his unit.
In April and May 1967, the confrontations were long and bloody for the 3rd Marines. During this time, they fought in a battle known as The Hill Fights. For most of the Vietnam War, the Marines were responsible for the northern area of South Vietnam, which included Khe Sanh. In one battle, snipers attacked Alvarado’s platoon, killing 22 out of 30 men. Alvarado tried to save his injured friend, Roland Lee Lyvere, by pulling him to a safe area. But unfortunately, Lyvere died from his wounds. His platoon received replacements and continued their missions.
Alvarado returned home to Atascosa later in 1967, spending the last three months of the year as a military policeman at Camp Pendleton, California. He discharged on Jan. 6, 1968, as a corporal. Alvarado received a Purple Heart during his service.
Alvarado later married in 1970 and worked in civil service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Michael Veronda
Editor: Julia Pack and Rachel Falconer
Fact checker: Ileana Rodrigues and Aaliyah Walton
Graphic artist: Grace Yang