During Hispanic Heritage Month, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez, a Medal of Honor recipient.
Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez was born in May 1946 in Edinburg, Texas. He attended Edinburg High School, where he was an all-district football player. After graduating, Gonzalez enlisted in the Marine Corps.
On July 6, 1965, Gonzalez became a rifleman with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. In Vietnam, Gonzalez became a rifleman and squad leader with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
In October 1966, Gonzalez promoted to lance corporal and later corporal. After completing his first tour in Vietnam, he served with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Later, in May 1967, Gonzalez went to the West coast, where he joined the 3rd Replacement Company, Staging Battalion, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California, to await transfer. After promoting to sergeant on July 1, 1967, he went to Vietnam. As a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, he oversaw actions against the Viet Cong.
In February 1967, the enemy attacked his platoon with automatic weapons and rocket fire. Gonzalez used several antitank weapons, destroyed an enemy rocket position and suppressed much of the enemy fire. The enemy hit Gonzalez with a rocket. He took cover at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church and died Feb. 4, 1968.
Gonzalez posthumously received a Medal of Honor for his actions, presented to his mother on October 31, 1969.
USS Gonzalez (DDG-66), a guided-missile destroyer, commissioned in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1996.
Gonzalez is buried in Hillcrest Memorial Park in Edinburg, Texas.
We honor his service.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
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Fact checker: Monique Quihuis