Remembering Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. Santiago Erevia

Remembering Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. Santiago Erevia

At a time when racism has reared its ugly head in presidential campaign politics, it's noteworthy that the US Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a release honoring the service of an Hispanic American, Sgt. Santiago Erevia, and praising his heroic actions in Vietnam for which he received the Medal of Honor. 

A member of the famed 101st Airborne Division, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, Erevia served six tours of duty during the Vietnam War. On May 21, 1969, he was directed to render first aid to the wounded when his unit came under intense enemy fire in Tam Ky Province. When those under his care drew fire from four fortified enemy positions, Erevia charged the first and destroyed it with a hand grenade. He did the same to two other enemy positions and then, out of grenades, he charged the fourth position with two M-16 rifles and destroyed it in a close-quarters firefight.

Erevia was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions that day and, after a review of award records determined his actions met the standards for award of the Medal of Honor, he received that medal from President Obama in a ceremony March 18, 2014, almost 45 years after his heroism in Vietnam.

After the Army, Erevia, the father of four children, began a 32-year career as a postal carrier near his home in San Antonio, Texas. This quiet man, who, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs' release, "rarely said a word," passed away March 22, 2016 at the age of 70.